NEW LONDON, N.H. - The Saint Michael's College men's golf team tied for sixth place with two 2017 NCAA Championship qualifiers on the first day of the Northeast-10 Conference Championship on Monday at Lake Sunapee Country Club. The Purple Knights set a school record for a league meet by carding 305 strokes - their best in 51 all-time 18-hole rounds since competing at their initial NE10 Championship during the 1987-88 season - to trim a mark set in the opening round of the 2003 meet. Four Saint Michael's golfers broke 80 in a round at a league championship for the first time.
After being selected to finish ninth among 10 teams in the NE10 Championship pre-meet poll by the league's coaches, the Purple Knights find themselves tied with host Southern New Hampshire University, which qualified for the past four NCAA Championships, and The College of Saint Rose, which competed at last year's NCAA meet. The trio of squads is six shots short of fifth-place Le Moyne College and seven away from two third-place schools. Day two of the NE10 Championship kicks off on Tuesday at 9 a.m.
Junior Colin Gaunt (Queensbury, N.Y./Queensbury) shot a 5-over 75 on Monday to tie for 16th, coming within two strokes of his career low while posting the best NE10 meet showing of his career. He is two shots away from the top eight. Classmate Tucker Buteau (Gorham, Maine/Tilton School) turned in a career-low 76 for the second straight round, tying for 23rd, while sophomore Matt Johnson (Sudbury, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury Regional) and first-year Connor Morse (Westford, Mass./Kimball Union Academy) both shot a 77 to tie for 28th. Johnson recorded his eighth straight round in the 70s.
Gaunt tied for second in scoring average on par-three holes (3.0), Morse tied for third on par fives (4.0), while Buteau tied for ninth on par fours (4.3). As a team, Saint Michael's was fifth in birdies (9) during the opening round. Junior David Boardman (Pelham, N.H./Pelham) completed the five competitors for the Purple Knights, firing a 90.