With 18 holes down, the Utah Valley University men's golf team is leading the Pat Hicks Invitational by six strokes after a team score of 284 on Monday at the Sunbrook Golf Club.
Three Wolverines are situated within the top 10 on the leaderboard, paced by freshman JT Timmons and his first round, 5-under 67. That mark, a season-best in any round for Timmons, is good enough for a tie atop the leaderboard with Boise State's Logan France.
Competing as an individual, Timmons' hot start cannot count toward UVU's overall team score, but strong rounds from Brayden Eriksen and Preston Richards have helped vault the Wolverines to the front of the pack. Eriksen posted a pair of 34s on the front and back nine, placing him into a four-way tie for third at -4. Richards is just one stroke back of that mark, sitting alone in seventh after a first round 69.
Monday marked UVU's first round of competitive golf since wrapping up the fall portion of its season back in late October.
"We put in a lot of work during the break and it's nice to see it paying off," Utah Valley head men's golf coach Chris Curran said. "The guys put together a great round and we executed our game plan beautifully. Brayden and Preston caught fire on the greens and JT had a great day."
As a team, the Wolverines fired a 284 (-4), putting them six strokes in front of fellow WAC member Seattle U (290). Nipping at SU's heels are Boise State (291) as well as host Southern Utah and Dixie State, each of which finished at 292. Utah State is sixth with a 297, followed by Weber State (302), Cal State Northridge (303), Oral Roberts (308) and North Dakota (310).
This is the second time this season that UVU has led a tournament after the first day of competition. The Wolverines took a three-stroke lead into the final day of the season-opening Battle in the Tetons but were overtaken by Wyoming over the final 18 holes and finished second. Utah Valley took fifth at the Pat Hicks Invitational last season.
Junior Michael Dart shot an even-par 72 and sits in a tie for 15th on the leaderboard, while Corey Eccles and Stratton Schulz each finished with 3-over 75s and are in 24th place. Noah Cook, UVU's second individual golfer, is in 21st after bouncing back from a front nine 40 with a back nine 34 to sit at 74 (+2).
The final round at the par-72, 6,801 yard Sunbrook Golf Course gets underway with shotgun start Tuesday at 9 a.m.
Kellen Hiser is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.