LEWISBURG, Pa. -- The Bucknell men's golf team turned in a successful opening round at its annual home invitational on Saturday, compiling a 288 team score behind a 1-under-par 69 from sophomore Connor O'Brien. The Bison are in third place at the Bucknell Invitational behind Saint Joseph's, which set a tournament record with a 5-under 275, and La Salle (284).
Bucknell has two teams entered this weekend, with the "A" squad consisting of four sophomores and a senior. O'Brien was 3-under at the turn after birdies at holes 5, 7 and 9. His only blemishes of the day were bogeys at 10 and 11, but he parred the final seven holes to post his first collegiate round in the 60s.
O'Brien is tied for fifth place indvidually. Michael O'Brien of Saint Joseph's has the lead after firing a 4-under 66. Lafayette's Reid Bedell and La Salle's P.J. Acierno both shot 67, followed by Saint Joseph's Tyler Sokolis with a 68. Bucknell's O'Brien was one of four players to shoot 1-under.
The veteran in Bucknell's lineup, senior John Edler, carded a 1-over 71. He made birdies at 7 and 9 to shoot 1-under on the outward nine, then had an eventful back side that featured three birdies, three bogeys, a double-bogey and two pars.
Sophomore J.P. Raftery, who was the team's low finisher (T-5th) in last week's season debut at Colgate, made five birdies en route to a 72. Classmates Jubal Early and Ashton Radvansky followed with 76 and 79, respectively.
Edler is currently positioned in the top 10 (T-10th), while Raftery is T-17th.
Saint Joseph had a terrific opening round, counting scores of 66-68-70-71 while discarding a 73. Overnight leader Michael O'Brien made six birdies on the day, with his lone blemish a double-bogey on the par-4 18th hole (his ninth hole of the day as the Hawks started at No. 10). The Hawks clipped Bucknell's previous tournament record of 276, set in 2009.
While the Bison are just four shots out of second place, they have a number of teams close behind. Defending champion Robert Morris and Wayne State are fied for fourth at 289, followed by Ottawa (294), Lehigh (295), Navy B (295), Lafayette (297), Humber (298), Navy A (299), Hampton (309), Messiah (314), Bucknell B (314) and St. Francis (N.Y.) (321).
The second and final round starts at 8 a.m. Sunday at the Bucknell Golf Club.