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Saint Mary’s Owns Big Lead After Opening Day of #WCCchamps

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DANVILLE, Calif. -- Saint Mary's senior Jonathan De Los Reyes posted a 3-stroke lead in the individual race, while the Gaels jumped out to a 13-stroke advantage on the first day of competition at the 2016 West Coast Conference Golf Championships at Blackhawk Country Club.

Saint Mary's fired a 13-under par 273 and sits 13 strokes ahead of runner-up Santa Clara after the first of three rounds in the 54-hole championships at Blackhawk's par 72, 6,901 yard Lakeside Course. San Diego is in third place at even par.

The teams return to competition in the tournament's second round beginning at 7:50 a.m. (PDT) off the 10th tee.

Saint Mary's golfers own three of the top 10 individual places in the 45-golfer field. Tournament leader De Los Reyes blistered the course with an 8-under par 64 and owns a 3-stroke lead over Santa Clara's Hayden Shieh, while SMC sophomore Connor Blick is tied for third place at 4-under par 68 with San Francisco’s Seb Crookall-Nixon.

Four are in a logjam in fifth place on the leaderboard at 3-under. Roy Cootes of Pepperdine, Jalen Griffin of San Francisco, Seung Jae Maeng of Pacific and Sean Walsh of Gonzaga all fired a 69 to open the tournament.

After opening the tournament with a pair of pars, De Los Reyes eagled the par 5 third hole before dropping his only bogey of the round with a four on the par 3 fourth.  He rebounded with a pair on holes five and six to end the front nine at 3-under par.

The Antioch native then posted a near flawless back nine with five birdies, including the final two holes, to conclude his round at 8-under par.  His score was the lowest round ever for a SMC golfer at the WCC Championships and marked De Los Reyes' second lowest collegiate round in competition.

Shieh shot 4-under on the front nine and carded seven birdies to fuel the Bronco’s surge. Blick, who grew up just three miles from Blackhawk Country Club, took advantage of his familiarity with the course to record the lowest competitive score of his collegiate career.

Five shots separate San Francisco (289), defending WCC Champion Pepperdine (290), BYU (292), Pacific (292) and Gonzaga (293).

Eighteen student-athletes carded rounds at par of better, including eight rounds in the 60s on Monday in perfect conditions.

Team Standings: 1. Saint Mary’s 273; 2. Santa Clara 286; 3. San Diego 288; 4. San Francisco 289; 5. Pepperdine 290; T6. BYU 292; T6. Pacific 292; 8. Gonzaga 293; 9. Loyola Marymount 297.

Individual Leaders: 1. Jonathan De Los Reyes (Saint Mary’s) 64; 2. Hayden Shieh (Santa Clara) 67; T3. Seb Crookall-Nixon (San Francisco) 68; T3. Connor Blick (Saint Mary’s) 68; T5. four players tied, including Roy Cootes (Pepperdine) 69.