CHAUTAUQUA - The host Jamestown Community College Jayhawks picked up where they left off at the NJCAA Division III National Golf Championships.
In last year's final round, JCC shot its best team score of the season, a 12-over-par 300, and finished in second place.
In Tuesday's opening round of the 2013 event on the Lake Course at Chautauqua Golf Club, the Jayhawks fired their best round ever, a 9-over 297 and they lead the tournament by six shots.
Drew Chaddock of Jamestown Community College watches his chip shot to the first green during the opening round of the NJCAA Division III National Golf Championships on Tuesday. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photo by Jim Riggs
In second place with a 303 is Vincennes University from Vincennes, Ind., while third is four-time champion Monroe CC from Rochester, N.Y., with a 307. Right behind with a 308 in fourth place is Sandhills CC from Pinehurst, N.C.
Defending champion Minnesota State Community and Technical College from Fergus Falls, Minn., is tied for fifth place with another former champion, Georgia Military College from Milledgeville, Ga. Both have 310s.
''Obviously I'm happy,'' coach Brett Mucheck said about his Jayhawks' excellent start. ''We played the way we knew we could play.''
But he was quick to note, ''It's a long tournament.''
Too fresh in his mind is the Region 3 Division III Tournament that JCC led by 14 shots after the first round and it ended up finishing second, nine strokes behind Monroe.
''The hardest thing is convincing them to keep playing to their potential without getting overconfident,'' Mucheck said. ''Tomorrow is all about maintaining our focus.''
When asked if he wished the second round could start immediately instead of this morning, Mucheck said, ''I absolutely would.''
Leading the way for JCC was Drew Chaddock with a 1-over 73 while Jake Yartz and Brenton Wilcox had 74s and Andrew Bird had a 76.
They're all sophomores and Mucheck said, ''They're all family.''
An 80 by Jordy Farnham, the only freshman, was thrown out.
When asked when he knew his team was having a good day, Mucheck said, ''Right from the git-go. Through three were already three under.'
The clincher that it was going to be a good day was when Bird birdied the par-4 11th hole.
''Last year 11 killed him,'' Mucheck said.
The coach also noted the course had a lot to do with his team's success.
''The course was immaculate,'' Mucheck said. ''A week ago I wondered if we could hold a national tournament here.''
Chaddock's team-leading 73 was rather workmanlike with three bogies on the front nine and two birdies on the back.
''I hit the ball really well today,'' the sophomore from Fillmore said. ''Other than my driver, everything was going good.''
After being 3 over through seven, Chaddock said, ''I was little bit concerned.''
That was because the always difficult par-4 ninth was looming ahead. But at No. 9 he made a ''great par'' from a greenside bunker.
At the par-5 13th he drove right into the the trees and still managed to chip within 3 feet for a one-putt birdie.
Chaddock also sunk a 3-footer for a more routine birdie 4 at No. 16.
One shot back with a 74 was returning first-team All-American Jake Yartz, who was playing only his fourth round since aggravating a previous fracture in his left foot. His ankle and foot were wrapped and he used a pull cart to take some pressure off the foot, which he said got sore around the 14th hole.
The Southwestern graduate also noted, ''I'm pretty much using a new swing (because of the injury). I don't follow through too much.''
Mucheck wasn't expecting such a good round from Yartz.
''He couldn't get it off the tee on the range,'' he said.
Then Yartz hit his first drive of the tournament 321 yards down the middle.
''He's made for this kind of stuff,'' Mucheck said about Yartz playing big in big tournaments.
He went on to birdie Nos. 2 and 3, but had a double-bogey 6 at No. 7.
On the back nine, Yartz sandwiched a birdie at 13 between bogeys at 11 and 14 and also bogeyed 17 and 18.
''I'm right around where I was last year (also a 74 in the opening round),'' Yartz said. ''I'm trying not to think much about last year.''
Wilcox had three birdies, three bogeys and a double-bogey for his 74.
His birdie at the par-5 fifth stood out.
''That hole has been my nemesis,'' the Cassadaga Valley graduate said.
At 17 his double-bogey was caused by a 9-iron that he chunked 40 yards short of the green.
''I think the nerves finally set in,'' Wilcox said.
Bird's 76 could have been better because he was even par through 16 and then finished bogey, bogey, double-bogey.
At 18, the Cassadaga Valley graduate said ''I hit it right, punched it out, then it got ugly.''
Things weren't ugly at the par-3 15th where Bird almost had a hole-in-one when his ball struck the flagstick. It ended up bouncing about 20 feet away, but he sunk the putt for a birdie.
The low score of the day was a 2-under 70 by Ethan Chamineak of Georgia Military.
Chaddock is in a three-way tie for second with his 73 and Yartz and Wilcox are in a five-way tie for fifth with their 74s.
The second round today begins on the first and 10th tees at 9 a.m.
JCC will be starting today's second round on No. 10 with Bird first at 9:40 a.m. followed by Chaddock at 9:48, Farnham at 9:56, Wilcox at 10:04 and Yartz at 10:12.
Jamestown CC 297
Vincennes University 303
Monroe CC 307
Sandhills CC 308
Minnesota State CTC 310
Georgia Military College 310
College of DuPage 313
Burlington CC 313
Suffolk County CC 320
Nassau CC 324
CC of Morris 345
CC of Rhode Island 350
Butler County CC 357
TOP 15 INDIVIDUALS
Ethan Chamineak, George Military 70
Drew Chaddock, Jamestown CC 73
Pat Soper, Suffolk County CC 73
Tyler Sloan, Vincennes U. 73
Jake Yartz, Jamestown CC 74
Brenton Wilcox, Jamestown CC 74
Shelby Stewart, Vincennes U. 74
Brandon Sletmoen, Minnesota State CTC 74
Aaron Rondon, Southwest Wisconsin TC 74
Darren McCormack, Suffolk County CC 75
Nick Thompson, Sandhills CC 75
Tyler Hill, Monroe CC 75
Andrew Bird, Jamestown CC 76
Connor Salanger, Onondaga CC 76
Colin Jameson, Sandhills CC 76
Alex Mead, Sandhills CC 76