Accuracy was a premium in the opening round of the NCAA Division II Midwest/South Central Regional Championship played Monday at the par-72, 6,842-yard Cherry Blossom Golf Course.
That suited Midwestern State's Jeremy LeGuen fine as the freshman from Highland Village fired his best round of the season with a 5-under 67 to trail tournament leading Cyril Bouniol of Abilene Christian by a single stroke.
The score keyed the Mustangs to an eighth-place standing after the first 18 holes with a 7-over total of 295 as MSU is just eight strokes behind tournament leading Wayne State (Mich.), which carded a total of 287 (-1).
"It is truly a ball striker's golf course right now," MSU coach Jeff Ray said. "The greens are pretty flat with not much scrape. Once you get on the greens they aren't playing tough at all."
LeGuen took advantage to hit 12 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens in regulation to set up five birdies in his first nine holes then finished with two birdies on the final nine holes as MSU commenced with the No. 10 tee.
The course could easily prove punishing after taking on a foot of rain over the past 10 days.
"They've had so much rain they haven't had a chance to mow the rough which is standing 4-8 inches high with thick Kentucky bluegrass," Ray said. "You can be a foot or two off of the fairway or greens and not be able to locate your ball."
Sophomores Raine Copeland and Sam Smith delivered solid rounds of 73 (+1) and 75 (+3) to stand 23rd and 45th, respectively.
"Raine was very consistent today while Sam struggled on the back nine," Ray said. "He had a great round going and just missed a few fairways."
Junior Brett Perry and sophomore Trevor Arianna struggled mightily on the back-nine before recovering with solid play on the front-nine to finish with matching 80s to tie for 94th.
"Our kids did a great job of controlling and keeping the ball in the fairways," Ray said. "Had we got a quality fourth score today, we would have been in the Top 3, but Trevor and Brett are playing smart golf."
Wayne State leads the way with a 287 followed by Abilene Christian (289), Cameron (290), Central Missouri (291), Missouri-St. Louis (293), Northern Kentucky (294), Grand Valley State (294) and Ashland (Ohio) (295) in a tightly packed field in front of the Mustangs.
"The guys like the golf course and it's not a putting contest like most regionals," Ray said. "If you're good off of the tee and good on your irons, you're going to shoot a good score out here."