LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Sophomore J.P. Raftery posted rounds of 67-68 on Saturday to sit in second place at 5-under-par, and the Bucknell men's golf team is in third place after a record-setting opening day at the Patriot League Championship.
Bucknell began the day by tying a school record with a 4-under 276, paced by 67s from Raftery and classmate Jubal Early. The Bison could not quite keep up that pace in the afternoon, posting a second-round 285, led by Raftery's 68. At 561 total, Bucknell will begin Sunday's third and final round seven shots behind co-leaders Army West Point and Loyola.
Army led Bucknell by one stroke at the end of the first round, then shot 279 in round two, led by a Patriot League Championship record 63 from Peter Kim. The 7-under total, which also tied the Bucknell Golf Club course record, surpassed the previous tournament mark of 65, held by Bucknell's Ben Pellicani (2005) and Army's Kevin Lee (2002).
Kim opened with a 68, and he has the individual lead at 9-under 131 through 36 holes. Raftery is second at 5-under, followed by Loyola's Connor Flach (-3) and Will Wears (-2). Lafayette's Will Halamandaris is also in red numbers at 1-under. Early and defending champion Dean Sakata of Army are tied for sixth at even par.
On the team leaderboard, Bucknell is 10 strokes clear of fourth-place Colgate (571). Lafayette (572), Navy (572), Lehigh (579) and Holy Cross (589) round out the field.
Raftery, who was the runner-up at the Patriot League Championship as a freshman a year ago, had a terriific day. In round one, he birdied holes 5, 10, 11 and 14, with his lone blemish a bogey at the par-5 15th. It was more of the same in the afternoon, as Raftery made three birdies (5, 6, 15) and just one bogey (12) en route to a 68. He finished off his day with a marvelous up-and-down on the par-3 10th.
Early fired a career-best 67 in round one, matching Raftery with four birdies and just one bogey. He began the championship with a birdie on the first hole, and added three more on 9, 12 and 14. Bucknell began the second round on the 11th hole, and Early got it to 2-under after birdies on 13 and 15. He ran into a bit of trouble in the middle of the round, but back-to-back birdies at 8 and 9 followed by a par on the long par-3 10th gave him a 73 and some momentum going into the final round.
Senior D.J. Magee shot 70-73 and is tied for 15th place at +3. He made nothing worse than bogey all day. Magee had three birdies and three bogeys en route to an even-par 70 in the morning, then added two more birdies in the second round.
Freshman Peter Bradbeer had a strong showing in his Patriot League Championship debut, posting 74-71 to sit in a tie for 25th place. In round one, Bradbeer made the turn at even par, then had a wild ride on the back nine. He had no pars on the back, making three birdies, five bogeys and a double. He was much more consistent in the afternoon, tallying three birdies, four bogeys and 11 pars. Bradbeer punctuated his second round with a nice up-and-down for birdie at the par-5 9th.
Bucknell's opening-round 276 was its best-ever in a conference championship. The Bison also shot 276 at the 2009 Bucknell Invitational. The previous low in a championship round was a 282 in 2005, also at the Bucknell Golf Club. Pellicani's 65 highlighted that round.
The final round gets underway Sunday at 8 a.m. Bucknell will be paired in threesomes with Loyola and Army. Kim, Raftery and Flach, the top three in the individual standings, will be in the final group.