Carlin Leads Spiders Into Second Place at National Golf Invitational

MARICOPA, Ariz. — Drew Carlin’s 3-under par 69 was one of four Richmond rounds in red figures on Day 1 of the National Golf Invitational Friday at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club. Carlin was joined by teammates Cole Ekert (-2), Quin Polin (-2), and Patrick Isztwan (-1) under par as the Spiders combined for a team score of 8-under (280), second best in the 10-team field. 

Richmond trails TCU (-9, 279) by one stroke and is two shots in front of third-place Wyoming (-6, 282). UR’s team score Friday matched the 13th-best single-round score in program history. 

Carlin is tied for fourth on the individual leaderboard after his 3-under 69, which matched the lowest round of his college career. Carlin made four birdies, three bogeys, and an eagle on the 584-yard, par 5 7th hole. Carlin reached the green in two with a hybrid from more than 250 yards away, and then made a 25-foot putt for his three. 

“I’ve kept playing and practicing at home and put some extra work in with the driver,” said Carlin, who finished his sophomore school year earlier this month. “That paid off today.”

Carlin and the rest of the Spiders thought their season was over following their fifth-place finish at the Atlantic 10 Championship in Orlando, Fla. on April 28. But Richmond is one of 10 teams to accept an invite to the NGI, which held its inaugural event in 2023.

Playing in an event they never expected to be in, Carlin says the team is loose. “Mindset wise, we have nothing to lose out here,” he said. “So just go out, have fun, and play some good golf.”

Ekert and Polin are both tied for ninth at 2-under par, while Isztwan one shot back in a tie for 15th. Teammate Jack LaPiana is also in the top 20 at even-par, making him one of five golfers tied for 20th. 

The Spiders will start Round 2 at 7:45 AM Saturday.

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