ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Freshman J.P. Raftery is 4-under par through 36 holes, and all three of Bucknell's freshmen are in the top 20 to pace the Bison on the opening day of the 2016 Patriot League Championship at the U.S. Naval Academy Golf Course. Bucknell posted team scores of 300 and 290, good for a fourth-place standing in the eight-team field.
Army West Point has a 12-shot lead after posting a pair of even-par 284s on Saturday. At 568 total, Army leads Navy (580), two-time defending champion Loyola (585), Bucknell (590), Lehigh (596), Lafayette (597), Colgate (604) and Holy Cross (615).
The story of the day for Bucknell was Raftery, who followed up an even-par 71 in his morning round with a sensational 67 in the afternoon. Raftery made three birdies and three bogeys in the first round, and then he checked off a whopping seven birdies in round two. He made four birdies in a five-hole stretch on the front nine, then birdied holes 12, 16 and 17 on the back. His only blemishes were a bogey at the eighth hole and a double-bogey at No. 15.
At 4-under par through 36 holes, Raftery is in second place in the individual standings, trailing only Army sophomore Dean Sakata, who is 7-under (66-69).
Like Raftery, Bison freshmen Connor O'Brien and Jubal Early played well in their first Patriot League Championship experience. O'Brien shot 76-72 and is tied for 14th place. Early posted 76-74 and is T-18th.
O'Brien had two birdies, three bogeys and 13 pars in his 1-over 72 in the afternoon. Early manufactured 15 pars and only three bogeys en route to his second-round 74. He parred his final eight holes coming in.
Bucknell's second-round 290 was its third-best 18-hole score at the Patriot League Championship. The Bison opened with 286-282 in 2005 at the Bucknell Golf Club. The 290 is the team's best round in a PL Championship at the USNA GC, surpassing the previous low of 295 in the third round in 2011.
Raftery's second-round 67 and his 138 total are the second-best 18- and 36-hole individual scores by a Bison at the PL Championship. Ben Pellicani posted a 5-under 65 in round two and was at 136 (-4) through 36 holes at Bucknell in 2005.
The only other sub-70 round by a Bucknell player in a Patriot League Tournament held at Navy was a 69 from Charlie Waddell in 2006, when the Bison won their first PL title.
Colgate's Ryan Allison and Navy's Thomas Fricke both made holes-in-one in the second round. There had been just one previous ace in Patriot League Championship history, coming in 1995 by Army's Mike Sessa.
The third and final round gets underway on Sunday morning.