A former Harrison standout and rising sophomore at Tech, Schniederjans got off to a solid start with two birdies and a bogey over his first six holes before getting his eagle at No. 7. He was just as solid on the back nine with birdies at 11 and 15, along with a bogey at No. 13.
Schniederjans finished the round off with a 10-foot birdie putt on 18 to end the day one stroke behind MJ Maguire. Maguire, a North Florida golfer who made it out of Monday’s Dogwood qualifier, is atop the leaderboard with a 66.
Carlton Forrester, a former Georgia Tech golfer who was one of Schniederjans’ playing partners, joined the current Yellow Jacket at 67. The 35-year-old Forrester got off to a blistering start, birdieing six of his first nine holes to go into the turn at 30.
Georgia’s T.J. Mitchell and Georgia Southern’s Scott Wolfes rounded out the top five with 68s.
Two of Schniederjans’ former Harrison teammates, Michael Garretson and Cameron Simmons, are also in the Dogwood field. Garretson, the medalist from the qualifier, shot 74 and is tied for 36th among the 87 golfers, while Simmons sits tied for 66th after a 77.
The ending of Schniederjans’ round was something he hasn’t been used to this summer after participating in a few tournaments before the Dogwood. For him, the result was a good change of pace heading into today’s second round.
“You can’t hurt yourself on the first day if you have a decent round,” Schniederjans said, “and 67 is definitely better than a decent round, so it’s a good start and I’m happy with it.
“Going in, I knew they were going to put the pins in some really tough spots because the greens aren’t very fast and they’re soft. So, I knew, if I just play smart and stay away from bogeys and make a couple of putts, I could have a big day.”
Wednesday’s round was a welcome sight for Schniederjans.
“The first two events I’ve had this summer, I’ve really struggled finishing a round,” he said. “I really wanted to keep my head together (Wednesday). I had a couple of screw-ups at No. 13 and 14, but I kept telling myself that, ‘If you finish strong, you can have a good round.’ I really wanted to keep it together, and to birdie 18 was awesome.”
The field will be cut to the top 40 and ties following Friday’s round, leaving Simmons, a rising senior at Akron, some work to do if he wants to move up the leaderboard.
Teeing off from No. 10, Simmons got off to a bad start with bogey and double bogey on two of his first three holes, and he was 4 over at the turn. Two more bogeys early on the front nine were negated by birdies at Nos. 6 and 7, but Simmons bogeyed the par-5 ninth for a disappointing finish.
“I was putting it OK (Wednesday),” Simmons said. “I just wasn’t getting it to the greens fast enough. I just really, really struggled off the tee with my iron game. My wedges were decent. It was just really tough out there.
“I don’t know what it was. I don’t think the course is playing any harder than it has in recent years. The scores are certainly not as low as they have been.”
Garretson, a rising sophomore at South Alabama, started slowly with bogeys over two of his first three holes before settling down. He had three birdies and a bogey before making the turn, and he bogeyed twice down the stretch for his 74.
“I drove the ball pretty well,” Garretson said. “I had a rough start, and, after that, I got into a groove and finished the front nine at even-par. I had a few bad iron and wedge shots on the back nine and really didn’t make that many putts all day and finished with a 74. Luckily, I got out with just that.”
Garretson will be the first to tee off today at 8 a.m. from hole No. 10. Simmons will go at 8:23 a.m. from No. 1, and Schniederjans will head out from No. 10 at 9:12 a.m.