PROVO, Utah -- Four Gaels among the top 18 individuals keyed a steady Saint Mary's golf team to a third-place finish after the first day of competition at the PING Cougar Classic at Riverside Country Club.
Senior Mac McClung is the team's leader after the first two rounds of the 54-hole tournament after carding rounds of 70-71 for a 3-under par 141.
The Gaels finished the day six strokes behind second-place Air Force and 18 strokes back of tournament host BYU, which fired rounds of 279 and 276 for an impressive 21-under par 555. Boise State sits in fourth place, five strokes behind the Gaels, while Colorado State is in fifth at 4-over.
Individually, McClung is one of 17 players in the field who shot even par or better. The Fremont native carded rounds of 70-71 and is in a 3-way tie for fifth-place. BYU's Zac Blair, the WCC's co-Player of the Year with SMC senior Ben Geyer, is the tournament leader at 10-under after posting rounds of 66-68. He is one stroke ahead of teammate Joe Parkingson and Kyle Westmoreland of Air Force.
McClung started the day with a 2-under 70 in a bogey-free round during which he birdied the par 4 fourth and eighth holes. During the afternoon, he suffered a pair of bogeys on the front nine, but finished strong with three birdies in the final six holes of the round for a 1-under 71.
Junior Alex Bungert is in a five-way tie, along with teammates Dalan Refioglu and Maclayne Marr, for 13th place with an even par 144 after posting rounds of 70-74. In the morning round, Bungert overcame three bogeys by carding three birdies and an eagle on the 557-yard, par 5 13th hole. After going 1-over on the front, the Orange, Calif. native went 3-under on the back to finish with a 2-under par for the round.
Refioglu shot consistent rounds of 73-71 on the day. After a birdie on the par 4 fourth hole, he suffered a double-bogey on the 551-yard, par 5 fifth hole. From that point forward, Refioglu carded just two holes over par among his final 31 holes of the day.
Marr, playing as an individual, opened the day with a 2-over par 74, but rebounded with a 2-under 70 in the afternoon.
Junior Cody Robinson shot rounds of 73-72 for a 1-over par 147 and is in sole possession of 18th place. Geyer went 74-73 and is in an eight-player tie for 23rd place in the 51-player field.
The teams return to the course on Saturday morning for the final round. Saint Mary's begins at 9:20 a.m. off the first hole.