HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Fla. — UT Tyler, led by Jacob Walsh and Matt Stephens, is tied for ninth after Tuesday’s first round of the NCAA Division III Men’s Golf Championship.

The Patriots played the El Campeon course, a par 72, 6,926-yard layout. UT Tyler carded a 300 and the Patriots are tied with Guilford (N.C.).

“I always say you can’t judge the scores until after the first two rounds are complete,” said UT Tyler coach King Campbell, whose Patriots tied for the best score of the day on El Campeon. “We felt El Campeon was playing 6 to 8 strokes tougher than Los Colinas; and we certainly didn’t play ourselves out of it today. We struggled on (the par 5) 17 coming in, but overall I was pleased with today’s performance.”

Oglethorpe (Ga.) leads the team competition with a total of 285. The Stormy Petrels won the title in 2009.

Four strokes back are Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (Calif.) and Christopher Newport (Va.). Favorite Methodist (N.C.) is fourth at 291 with Redlands (Calif.) fifth at 295.

Methodist won the 2010 crown and the Monarchs captured won 10 overall titles. Defending champion Greensboro (N.C.) is sixth at 296.

UT Tyler, seeded No. 2, is making its third national tournament appearance. The Patriots’ previous appearances were in 2009 (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) and 2010 (Hershey, Pa.). Seven players are ranked inside the top 125 with senior Walsh leading the pack. Junior John Dukes, senior Stephens and freshman Trent Bodoin are all inside the top 25.

Both Walsh and Stephens fired 2-over 74s, while Joey Rippel carded a 75. Both Dukes and Bodoin had 77s.

Anthony Maccaglia of Oglethorpe and Brad Shigezawa of CMS are tied for first after carding 4-under 68s.

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