Sooners sixth, Cowboys eighth after tough first round of NCAA Championship

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – On a day where no team was under-par, the Oklahoma men’s golf team opened the national championship with a 287 (+7) and sits alone in sixth after 18 holes at the par-70 Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz. Oklahoma State opened play  with a 9-over 289 total to stand alone in eighth place.

The top-ranked and top-seeded Sooners (6, +7) were one of just two teams to play its first nine holes even or under-par after teeing off on No. 10 in round one. But a combined 7-over on the front nine to close the day pushed head coach Ryan Hybl‘s team into sixth with 36 holes to play before the field is cut from 30 to 15. The Sooners are just four back of the lead, four clear of the match-play cut and nine clear of Sunday’s 54-hole cut.

“At one point we were heading in a direction that wasn’t great  and it felt like we did a great job coming down the stretch,” Hybl said. “We made the turn onto the front nine, and the flag sticks were just incredibly hard, especially on Nos. 1, 4 and 6. But I thought we did a good job on those holes, which I’m really proud of.”

True freshman Drew Goodman paced the team on Friday. Goodman (T8, E) got into the red early, pouring in three birdies across his first eight holes to take the early lead. But a bogey on the 18th, the toughest-scoring hole on the course, paired with a triple bogey on No. 3, pushed him back into the black. The Norman product responded with a final birdie on the par-3 eighth hole to get back to even and two back of the lead in the individual race.

Logan McAllister (T16, +1) joined his freshman teammate inside the top 20 after signing for a 71 (+1). After teeing off on No. 10, the senior opened his championship with pair of bogeys and birdies on the back nine before evening out with eight pars and a bogey to close his opening round.

Redshirt senior Chris Gotterup (T42, +3) found his groove late, sinking his only birdie on his next-to-last hole of the day. Despite his first over-par round in his last 10 rounds, he remains just five back of the lead.

Ben Lorenz (T42, +3), inserted into the lineup on Thursday evening, responded with a clean nine holes to start the day. Then, making the turn at 1-under, the Peoria, Ariz., product tallied four bogeys to move back above par.

In his opening round, Patrick Welch (101, +6) carded a 76.

The championship is contested over 72 holes of stroke play, with the field being cut from 30 to 15 teams after 54 holes. Following 72 cumulative holes, the field will be narrowed down to eight teams who will square off in a quarterfinal, semifinal and final match to determine a national champion.

“I look at our card and we’ve just got to clean up some bigger numbers,” Hybl added. “But we did a nice job hanging in there and because of that we are going to take a look back at tonight and know we are in a pretty good spot.”

The second-ranked Cowboys finished the day a shot behind North Carolina for seventh place and just seven shots off the lead held by Vanderbilt at the par-70, 7,289-yard layout.

Kansas’ Harry Hillier and Auburn’s Brendan Valdes shared the individual lead at 2-under 68.

The duo was part of just seven players to break par on the day. Included among that group was OSU’s Bo Jin.

The sophomore, who was runner-up at last years’ event at the same venue, opened with a 1-under 69 to finish in a five-way tie for third place.

With the Cowboys beginning their day on the back nine, Jin birdied the 12th and added another at the 16th to turn in 2-under 33. His lone bogey of the day would come at the second before a string of seven consecutive pars would wrap up his round.

A pair of OSU seniors shared 42nd place with 73s with Eugenio Chacarra and Aman Gupta each signing for 3-over totals.

Junior Brian Stark carded a 74 to finish the day tied for 62nd place.

Sophomore Jonas Baumgartner carded an opening 80 and is tied for 150th place.

The Cowboys will begin their second round tomorrow at 8:10 a.m. (CST) and will once again be grouped with Oklahoma and Vanderbilt.

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Ken MacLeod

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