EUGENE, Ore. – The 30-team field for the NCAA Championship wrapped up the first round of stroke play Friday at Eugene Country Club.
The top 15 teams after 54 holes advance to Monday’s final round of stroke play, when the individual champion is crowned and the field is cut for the eight-team match-play bracket.
Here is a quick snapshot of the action:
Team leaders: Arkansas and TCU (+2)
Third place: San Diego State, Southern Cal and Vanderbilt (+3)
The others: Oklahoma State (+5), Florida (+6), South Carolina (+7)
Work to do: Texas (+9), Illinois (+10), Georgia (+11), Stanford (+12)
Individual leaders: Nahum Mendoza III, San Diego State; Will Starke, South Carolina; Theo Humphrey, Vanderbilt (-3)
Skinny: There was a clear advantage for the early starters, with four of the top five teams going off in the morning. None were better than Arkansas and TCU. The Horned Frogs have two players in the top 10 individually (Chelso Barrett and Paul Barjon). In the afternoon, the greens got firm, crusty and bumpy, one of the reasons that many of the pre-tournament favorites – Texas, Illinois and Stanford, in particular – struggled to post a good number. We’ll have a better idea of how things stand once both teams play in both the morning and afternoon waves.
Defending champion LSU shot 6 over in the first round. Many of the best players in the country got off to a solid start, with player of the year contenders Beau Hossler (Texas) and Jon Rahm (Arizona State) shooting 70 and 71, respectively. One of the day’s biggest surprises was Stanford’s Maverick McNealy, whose 6-over 76 did not count toward the Cardinal’s team total. No. 1-ranked Stanford would have been in dire shape if not for David Boote’s inward 32. As it stands now, the Cardinal is only six shots off the eighth-place cut line. No player shot better than 67 in the first round.