Clemson and Oklahoma State joined the Tigers and North Carolina State in the lead with 11-over 299s despite disappointing rounds from their stars. Oklahoma State's Hunter Mahan shot a 1-over 73, and Clemson's D.J. Trahan finished the round 3-over.
Day 1 Scores
Just 12 of 156 golfers shot par or better at the Karsten Creek Golf Club, a par-72 carved out of the blackjack and scrub oak trees.
'This is probably the most patience-demanding course I've ever seen,' Clemson coach Larry Penley said. 'If you lose your patience for even a minute, it's a double bogey waiting to happen.'
Williams bogeyed just one hole, the par-4 17th, while making four birdies. Augusta State's Oliver Wilson and Chris Stroud of Lamar each shot 2-under 70s. Texas' Matthew Rosenfeld (71) was the only other golfer below par.
'The rough's high, the greens are lightning fast and the pins are placed in impossible places to make a birdie,' said Wichita State's Jason Novascone, who shot a 72.
Duke and Southern California were both one back at 12 over. Florida was another two strokes back after shooting a 302. UCLA shot 303. Defending champion Minnesota is in 11th place after shooting 305.
Mahan, who shared this year's Ben Hogan Award with Arizona's Ricky Barnes as collegiate player of the year, was tied for 13th in the individual champion competition.
'I'm pretty disappointed in it,' Mahan said. 'I hit the ball better than what I shot. I hit a lot of fairways and I hit a lot of greens, but I just didn't put well.'
Barnes hit a hole-in-one on the par-3, 192-yard third hole, but shot just 75. Barnes, who shot a 69 in the first round of this year's Masters, double-bogeyed the par-5 first hole and the par-4 10th.
Trahan, last year's Ben Hogan winner, shot 75 despite making birdie on three of the last four holes. He missed just one fairway.
'It's the hardest course I've ever played in competition,' he said. 'I made a couple of errors out there that I shouldn't have made.'
The course is so wooded that players can't see the next hole until the 16th. With weeds knee-high in the rough and thick trees, miscues on drives led to long ball searches. It typically took about six hours to complete all 18 holes, and play ended just after the sun set.
'I don't think it's acceptable to play golf that slowly,' Oklahoma State coach Mike Holder said. 'But it's tough when you've got 156 people out here. That's full.'
Clemson has a share of the lead even though the Tigers lost six strokes on the par-3 seventh when Matt Hendrix triple-bogeyed the 215-yard hole.
'Someone with a 20 over is probably going to win this championship,' Trahan said.
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