PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. – Nothing derails a round quite like a big number. This lesson has been a pseudo-introduction to college golf for four Guilford freshmen.

It’s not a team outing, but five Guilford players are in the Golfweek True Blue Amateur field this week. Senior Louis Lambert is out front, in a tie for 10th at True Blue Golf Course after rounds of 73-66, and with the four new players learning the ropes. It’s a little different look for the Quakers this week with the field spanning all Divisions. Guilford competes at the NCAA Division III level.

“Especially for the freshmen, this is kind of their first ‘college’ tournament,” Lambert said. “… Playing with people that play for Alabama, South Carolina, we don’t really get that. It’s a great experience.”

Lambert, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, had the most drastic turnaround. As the golf course dried out after a mid-week deluge, Lambert found it easier to score. He traded out his driver for a 2-iron off the tee here and there.

“I shot 73 yesterday and I saw I was tied for 40th and that didn’t really sit well with me,” Lambert said of a significant climb up the leaderboard courtesy of his second-round 66.

Scores: Golfweek True Blue Amateur

Lambert had six birdies and no errors.

Three years isn’t much of an age difference in college, but the experience level from a senior to a freshman can be vastly different. Lambert has taken on something of a leadership role this week. After the opening round, he talked about eliminating big numbers. Every Guilford freshman came in with a lower number on Monday.

“I talked to them a lot about avoiding the big numbers, trying to stay away from the doubles when possible,” he said. “No doubles on the card from anybody on our team today.”

Lambert is a sports management major at Guilford. There’s potentially a fifth year of college golf in the cards, considering that the NCAA made that an option after the spring season was canceled due to COVID. A fifth year, he recognizes, would be the best option should he decide to turn professional.

It would also extend the leadership for his team. He’s one of four seniors in the lineup this year, along with the four freshmen. After Lambert’s 66 on Monday, the next-best Guilford score came from Sam Davidson, who had a 71.

Thanks to COVID, Lambert hasn’t competed since March, when the spring season was canceled. Rounds have been sparse the past month, but that was deliberate.

Sometimes it takes a hard reset to change course in this game. Feeling some frustration about how he was playing, Lambert put the clubs away. He thinks he played two 18-hole rounds over the past month and hit the range a handful of times.

He started practicing for this event roughly five days ago.

“Maybe sometimes that’s what you need, I guess,” he said.

Truly, it seems to have left Lambert refreshed. He’ll enter the final round five shots behind Rafe Reynolds, who plays for South Carolina. Reynolds also didn’t make a bogey on Monday, bringing in a 65 to take a one-shot lead over a group of men at 9 under. That includes Campbell’s Pontus Nyholm, Old Dominion’s Gustav Fransson, College of Charleston’s Hunter Dunagan and Charleston Southern’s Jake Carter.

Nyholm was the pace-setter on Sunday, when he said his wedges were dialed in. He set up birdie putts and he converted them.

He finds himself in familiar territory entering the final round a shot off the lead and in the final group. He played three Swedish Golf Tour events over the summer and contended.

“No matter what, you have to play good on the final day,” he said.

Something says a shoot-out is coming.



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