Muskogee, Okla. – St. Mary’s University senior men’s golfer Matt Vela has the Rattlers in contention for a tournament title after firing a 3-under-par 68 on the first day of the 12th Annual Northeastern State University Golf Classic on Monday.

Vela, a San Antonio native from MacArthur High School, enters Tuesday’s final round in a six-way tie for second place and two shots off the lead.

The Rattlers aren’t far behind as a team, trailing leading Central Oklahoma by five shots after shooting a 4-under-par 280.

Sophomore Tim Paiz, who is listed as the team’s No. 4 golfer, nearly matched Vela shot for shot with a spirited showing that has helped put the Rattlers within striking distance. The San Antonio native shot a 70, good enough to be tied for 12th place.

Meanwhile, Jeff Rein (Sr., San Antonio) and Sam Jernigan (Jr., San Antonio) both shot 71. Shawn Bennett, a freshman from Marion, Texas, carded a 77.

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