HAMILTON, N.Y. -- Freshman Connor O'Brien fired a 2-under-par 70 in his very first collegiate round, setting the tone for a very good day for the Bucknell men's golf team in the 2015-16 season opener at the Colgate Invitational. On a very tough day for scoring at Seven Oaks GC, the Bison posted rounds of 304 and 305 and sit in third place, just five strokes off the lead. O'Brien is second individually, just one shot behind 36-hole leader Ryan Allison of Colgate.
Youngstown State heads into Sunday's third and final round in first place with a 606 total, followed by Cornell (609), Bucknell (611), Colgate (612) and Lafayette (620) in the 14-team field.
O'Brien was the story of the morning round for the Bison. The Rowayton, Connecticut native, who this summer made it to the match play rounds at the USGA Junior Amateur, posted six birdies, eight pars and four bogeys en route to the 2-under 70. He birdied four of the holes on the back nine and held the individual lead after 18 holes.
O'Brien came back in the afternoon and posted a 76, and his 2-over 146 total puts him in second place, one shot behind Allison of the host Raiders. O'Brien's debut was particularly impressive on a day when the avergage score among the 81 players in the field was an 80.04.
Another freshman, Jubal Early, is competing as an individual this weekend, and Early is also in contention after posting rounds of 72-77. His even-par 72 was the second-best score of the morning, behind O'Brien. After 36 holes, Early sits in a tie for fourth place, four shots behind the leader Allison.
Also contributing towards Bucknell's team scoring was freshman J.P. Raftery (79-76), sophomore C.J. Zachary (76-80), sophomore Daniel Levin (86-73) and junior Zachary Melnick (81-80). Levin, Bucknell's low scorer last season, bounced back from a tough first round with four birdies in the second. His 73 was the was the fourth-best score in the field in the afternoon round.
The final round gets underway Sunday morning with a 9 a.m. shotgun start. Live scoring is available on Golfstat.com.