A combination of hot pink shirts and hot shots in even hotter weather propelled Eastern Florida's men's golf team to a round of 277 on Thursday's third day of the NJCAA Division I Men's Championship at Duran Golf Club in Viera.
The Titans struggled in Monday's storm-shortened first round, shooting 296. They made up ground on Wednesday, carding 290 and then charged on Thursday, shooting 277, tied with McLennan Community College's round on Wednesday as the tournament's best.
They moved up from 11th to fifth, 15 strokes off the lead.
McLennan Community College led at the end of play on Thursday at 848 while Jackson Bugdalski of Indian Hills Community College paced the race for individual medalist at 205 thanks to his round of 67.
For the Titans, Brad Bawden had the best day, shooting 66; Michael Keymont shot 68; Kerry Sweeney, 70; Corey Herman, 73; and Tyler Bennett, 74.
Sweeney was tied for fifth at 210. Bawden was tied for 10th at 212. Keymont was tied for 38th at 219. Bennett was tied for 53rd at 223. Herman was 96th at 234.
Bawden was all smiles after his round.
"It was nice, it was nice to hole some putts," said Bawden. "I played well. I struck the ball really well, especially in the wind. It got pretty windy out there. I just managed to read the greens well today. Managed to hole a few putts.
"(Hole) 11 was a big moment and push for me. I got five under and hit a bit of trouble on 11. I was actually hitting a 3 iron into the green. It was good to make par there, which kept me going for my round. That was a big point for me. A good 4/1-25-footer (putt) for par."
As for the shirts: "It could be," Bawden said with a smile. "Down at Barry we jumped up a lot wearing these uniforms. It could be something about it.
"We knew what we had to do. We had to go there and play well. That's what we did. Shot 11 under today. That's a good day."
Titans head coach Jamie Howell was pleased.
"Better late than never," he said. "You can say what got away but 277 is something to be proud of. The guys did a good job today. Absolutely.
"It's been coming for a while," Howell added about Bawden's effort. "He's been playing really well. Just a matter of putts going down for him. A few obviously went down today.
"Same exact thing tomorrow. We have to play really well and probably get a little bit of help. Some of the teams are playing well today too. We've got to do the same thing tomorrow and take care of our business."
Howell also had praise for Keymont.
"Michael's been on the cusp of it a number of times. The more he does it the more confidence he will get and roll with that. It was big for him to come back that way today. Corey Herman did better again today too. We've got one round to do our job."
The last time the Titans wore their hot pink shirts they made up five places on the final day of the Barry University Buccaneer Invitational, jumping from eighth to tied for third.
The Titans begin teeing off at 7:50 a.m.
Individual competitors are Greyson Benavides, Paris, Texas and Chase Brown, Cape Fear, North Carolina.
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