(Frontier Conference photo)

LAS VEGAS – Rocky Mountain College sophomore Michael Tait fired an opening-round 65, leading the Battlin’ Bears into the lead after Round 1 of the Winona State Warrior Invitational Monday afternoon at the Stallion Mountain Golf Club in Las Vegas.

Tait’s 7-under round was four shots better than the field, and was one of only two rounds below 70 on the day.

Rocky shot a 2-under 286 as a team to take a nine-shot lead over host Winona State heading into day two. Colton Murphy and Mitchell Thiessen each shot 73 (+1) while Reece Nilsen fired a 75 (+3).

The Montana State University Billings men are in third place. The Yellowjackets fired a team score of 300 on the par-72, 7,152-yard course. Sophomore Caleb Stetzner and junior Scott Larson are also each shot 1-over 73’s to lead the ‘Jackets.

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Jayd Dion and Garrett Woodin were next down the list for MSUB, as each posted a score of 77 to sit in a tie for 28th place.

The MSUB women meanwhile fired an opening-round 319, putting them in second place just 11 strokes behind tournament leader West Alabama.

“I am very proud of our performance today,” commented Yellowjacket assistant coach Marcus Drange. “Our women played a solid round of golf as a team, with a lot of consistency. Our touch around the greens will improve with more practice as the spring progresses, but we got off to a great start today.”

Freshman Renae Heisler and senior Bailee Dexter each shot 78 (+6) to sit in a tie for fourth place. Junior Shealyn Hafer shot an 81, while Sarah Schroefel was just one stroke behind with an 82.

Dexter and Heisler are eight strokes off of the tournament leader, as Ye Eun Jin of West Alabama shot a 2-under-par 70 on Monday. Teammate Alicia Fajardo was right behind with a 2-over-par 74, helping UWA to the top team spot after Day 1 of competition.

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