KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – Charleston Southern senior Austin James sits in a tie for 36th place after 36 holes of play at The Invitational at The Ocean Course. CSU is 15th in the field with a team total of 12-over par 588 entering Tuesday's final round.
Middle Tennessee State overtook Georgia State late in the day to move into the lead at an impressive 20-under par. Georgia State is three strokes back, while Ole Miss and Augusta are five behind in a field featuring six top-75 programs from last spring's final Golfstat rankings. Georgia State's Alexander Hermann and Augusta's Jake Marriott are tied for the individual lead at 10-under par. Both fired first-round 66's, the lowest efforts of the day.
James was near the top of the leaderboard after the morning 18 thanks to a sterling four-under par 68. The reigning Big South Player of the Year posted six birdies and 11 pars outside of a double-bogey seven at the par-5 11th. James was at even par through 13 holes before rolling in four straight birdie putts at 17, 18, 1 and 2. The afternoon was not as favorable for James as he managed only one birdie during a four-over 76.
Coupled with a one-under tally from junior R.J. Keur and a 1-over effort from classmate Jake Ezell, CSU was +2 as a team and near the middle of the pack halfway through. Derrick Villarreal's one-under 71 was the highlight of a difficult afternoon for the Bucs. Villarreal had six birdies, including one stretch of four of six holes on the front nine.
Keur was inside the top-30 of the field before bogey at 16, 17 and 18 dropped him into a tie for 47th. Villarreall is tied for 64th at 5-over, Ezell tied for 72nd at 7-over and Kansas transfer Jacques Wilson tied for 81st at 12-over.
CSU is still within striking distance of the field's top-10. Troy and Winthrop recorded 3-over team totals on day one, nine shots ahead of the Bucs.
Final round play at The Ocean Course begins Tuesday at 7:30 a.m.