Oklahoma is just outside of the top five, in sixth place, after the opening 18 holes of the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship, and fellow Big 12 teams Texas and Oklahoma State are just a shot back 0f the Sooners, tied for seventh.
OU shot a first-round team score of two-under-par 278 over the par-70, 7,320-yard layout of the Capital City Club’s Crabapple Course in Atlanta, Ga. on Tuesday. Texas, which won the Big 12 Golf Championship last month, was led over the first 18 holes in the NCAA Championship by senior Julio Vegas, who posted five birdies and just missed two more on his way to a two-under score of 68. As a team, the Longhorns finished the first round of the 54-hole stroke-play tournament with a score of one-under 279.
“It was a really good round, pretty solid,” Vegas said. “I hit a bunch of fairways, a bunch of greens, and made pretty good putts.”
Arizona State is in the lead after the first day of the Championship after shooting a 10-under score of 270. Leading the way for the Sun Devils was Pac-12 Conference Freshman of the Year Joe Rahm, who shot lights out on day one with a nine-under 61, one stroke off of the NCAA Tournament record.
Oklahoma is the No. 23 seed in the 30-team Championship and finished third in the Big 12 Championship this year. Senior Abraham Ancer shot a season-low, five-under 65 on Tuesday, which put him in second place behind Arizona State’s Rahm on the individual leaderboard. Charlie Saxon of the Sooners was also under par through 18 holes, with a score of 69.
“I think one of our biggest goals coming into this national championship was not to shoot ourselves in the foot in the first round,” Oklahoma head coach Ryan Hybl said. “I don;t think we played great as a team – we shot two under (in the opening round) - but being in the hunt is really all you can ask for following one round.”
Oklahoma State’s Talor Gooch and Ian Davis, both juniors, were tied for fourth place after shooting opening-round scores of 67. “Anytime you canj shoot under par on this course is a good score,” Gooch said. “It’s a tough course, so we just wanted to get off to a good start and hopefully we can keep it going.”
The second and third rounds are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday. The first three days or 54 holes will determine the individual medalist. After that, the top eight teams will move on and compete in a match-play tournament that will determine the national team champion.