PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Franklin & Marshall juniors Andrew Woods and Joe Fucigna each carded career lows in the first of four rounds at the NCAA Division III Men's Golf Championships. Their efforts leave the Diplomats tied for 11th place amongst the 36 teams after 18 holes at the PGA Village. Woods sits tied for fourth place with Fucigna in a six-way tie for sixth out of 185 golfers.
Woods shot five birdies on the afternoon. The Simsbury, Connecticut native was humming along the Dye Course, maintaining par on the first four holes. He stumbled with a bogey on the par five fifth, but made up for it with back-to-back birdies on the par five seventh and par four eighth. Woods played like a tiger on the back nine with consecutive birdies on 12 and 13. He added another at 17 before bogeying 18 to finish the day three strokes under par.
Fucigna carded a 70 to open the 72-hole championship two shots under par. The Weston, Connecticut product birdied two of the three par fives, including the difficult 519-yard fifth. He followed that hole with a birdie on the par three sixth. Fucigna birdied both holes at the turn. He recorded two bogies on the front nine and one on the back.
Diplomats' frosh, Danny Liebowitz, shot 76 with three birdies on his card, including the first NCAA Championship hole of his career. Liebowitz went even on the way out, but ran into a spate of tough holes late on the trip back in. The frosh bogeyed 15 and 16, then dropped two shots on 17 before regaining his composure. He closed the round in the fashion he started, birdying the par four 18th.
Bryan Hartog and first-year, Cameron Warner, each shot 82 (+10) on Wednesday. The Diplomats posted a team score of 297 (+9), matching the lowest round shot twice by F&M this year. F&M is 18 strokes behind first place Methodist, which is nine strokes under par and ahead of second-place St. John's (Minn.).
Methodist's Tom Cooper is tied with La Verne's Mithcell Fedorka for the individual lead. Each shot 67 to finish five strokes under par. St. John's Joey Polingo sits alone in third one stroke back. Woods and Matthew Martin of Transylvania are an additional stroke off of the championship pace.
F&M returns to action tomorrow morning. The Diplomats will tee off in the 53rd through 58th threesomes. Fucigna will be the first F&M golfer to tee it up at 10:30 a.m. Woods will be the last Diplomat off of the tee at 11:00 a.m. Fans can follow along with GolfStat's live leaderboard.