Defending Upper Midwest Athletic Conference men’s golf champion Wisconsin-Superior started strong on the first day of the three-day 2019 conference tournament on Thursday at Pebble Creek Golf Club in Becker.

UWS shot 306 to stake itself to an 18-shot lead over second-place St. Scholastica (322). Northwestern is third at 328.

UWS has three golfers in the top five, led by Joey Cummings and Ryan Peterson, who both shot even-par 72s. The ’Jackets’ Tyler Smith shot 76 and sits in fifth place.

St. Scholastica was even more dominant on the first day of the women’s tournament, shooting 358 for a 29-shot lead over second place Northwestern (387). UWS is third at 410.

CSS’ Olivia Wright shot 83 to lead Bethany Lutheran’s Hayley Thompson by one stroke. The Saints’ Hannah Johnson is third at 89 and teammate Hannah Cornwell shot 91 to tie for fourth.

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UWS’ Alayna Tulip shot 94 and is in eighth place.

The second day of men’s and women’s tournaments begins at 11 a.m. Friday at Pebble Creek.