Golf Tied for First at Atlantic 10 Championships
Colonials shoot a school record 15-under; Palazzolo tied for the lead at -6
ORLANDO -- The George Washington golf team is tied for first through the opening round of the 2017 Atlantic 10 Championship after shooting a school record 15-under par 273 on Friday at Grand Cypress Golf Resort.
Junior Vince Palazzolo shot a 6-under 66 -- the best round of his collegiate career and tied for the lowest relative to par in school history -- and is tied for the individual lead with Zack Justice of Richmond. The Spiders also opened with a 15-under to share the lead with GW.
One shot off the lead is sophomore Logan Lowe, who fired a 5-under 67, while Christian Cichan closed with a pair of birdies to shoot 69 and give GW three players in the top 10. Junior Jack Porcelli played his last four holes 2-under par to finish with a 1-under 71 and is tied for 19th.
Palazzolo was able to turn in what ties for the lowest score relative to par in school history thanks to two torrid stretches. After a bogey on four put him at 1-over for the day, he birdied five, six and seven to get to 2-under.
"I did a good job of not making big mistakes today," said Palazzolo. "I made two bogeys but that's golf -- you're not going to play a perfect round. "I was able to manage my mistakes, miss in the right spots, and I'm putting so well."
A miscue on 10 led to his second bogey of the day but Palazzolo again caught fire -- this time on a five-hole stretch -- to catapult into the lead. Birdies on 12 and 13 preceded the highlight of the day, when Palazzolo nearly drove the green on the 371-yard par 4 14th. From just off the green, the junior hit a putt from roughly 75-80 feet away that traveled up a ridge, came down and went in for eagle. Another birdie followed on 16 before he made par on 17 and 18 to turn in the 66.
"It didn't register really how hot I was because 12 and 13 felt like easy birdies," said Palazzolo. "But then on 14, rolling that in from the fringe from 75-80 feet away -- a bit of a lucky putt. That's when I knew it could be something special."
Lowe, meanwhile, made six birdies and one bogey to go along with 11 pars for his 5-under 67. The sophomore's only hiccup of the day was a bogey on number three, and he responded by birdieing the next three holes. On the back nine, he mixed two birdies with seven pars.
"I'm glad I was able to help put the team in position to win and be right there, one shot back myself as well," said Lowe. "I had this round really mapped out in my head; the way I visualized it was very similar to how it played out so I felt comfortable the whole time."
Combined with Cichan and Porcelli's under-par rounds, GW blew away its school record for a round. The previous mark, relative to par, was a 7-under 281 at the 2006 A-10 Championship. Play continues tomorrow, with GW set to tee off beginning at 9:45 a.m.
"Heading into tomorrow we'll recreate a game plan since there will be a few different pin positions, but I think the strategy will be a lot like it was today: playing to the right angle and missing to the right spot from these pins," said head coach Chuck Scheinost. "Take the trouble out of play and make sure we're hitting it to the right spots for a birdie or an easy up-and-down. I'm very proud of the way the guys executed today."
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