Clemson, SC—Calahan Keever fired and even-par 72 on Monday to lead Clemson to a sixth-place standing after the first round of The Blessings Intercollegiate in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The tournament in its fourth year is being played at The Blessings Golf Course on the University of Arkansas.
Keever, a transfer from nearby Anderson (SC) University, had an eagle three on the par five 15h hole when he chipped in from off the green. It was the first eagle of his young Clemson career. The shot opened the television broadcast on the Golf Channel on Monday afternoon.
Keever finished in third place as an individual at the Poston Invitational last week to earn a spot in Jordan Byrd’s lineup. He certainly responded in his first round playing in the Clemson lineup as he finished with nine hole scores of 36-36. He had two birdies, an eagle and four bogeys for the round. He stands in a tie for eighth place after 18 holes.
The Blessings Intercollegiate includes 10 teams (two Arkansas teams) from nine schools and the three-day 54 hole event will be televised by the Golf Channel Monday through Wednesday (4:30 pm 7:30 pm each day). There is a separate men’s and women’s tournament and all five players on each team play in he same group each day.
As has been the case over the years, The Blessings course proved to be challenging as the stroke average for the men was 75.28.
The Tigers are in sixth place, with a nine over par team score of 297 on the par 72 course, just one shot behind third ranked Washington. Clemson is just four shots out of third place (Kentucky) entering the second round. Host school Arkansas has a commanding lead on its home course with a nine-under-par score of 279.
Thomas Higgins and Jonathan Nielsen both contributed rounds of two-over-par 74 on Monday to support Keever. Higgins, a sophomore from Ireland, and Nelsen, a senior from Denmark, both had four birdies on Monday to lead the Tigers in that category. Higgins had a 36 on the front and 38 on the back, while Nielsen shot 37 on both nines. They are tied for 19th place in the individual race.
Kian Rose had a 77 and Andrew Swanson shot a 78 on Monday.