Paced by four golfers in the top 16 places, the University of Arizona men's golf team shot a first-round 277 (-11) to grab the lead Friday at the Hall of Fame Invitational in Humble, Texas.
Four Wildcats posted under-par totals Friday, as the team collected its eighth sub-par round this spring. UA's 11-under 277 gave the squad a six-stroke lead in the field of 18 teams. Arkansas, Texas, TCU and Texas A&M are all tied for second place at 283 (-5).
Twice this spring Arizona has opened a tournament with the first round lead and went on to win: Feb. 2 at the PING-Arizona Intercollegiate and Feb. 18 at the John Burns Intercollegiate.
Senior Chris Nallen jumped out to the first-round individual lead in the 96-man field after carding a 6-under 66. It was his sixth round in the 60s in 10 rounds played this spring. Nallen holds a one-stroke lead over Stephen Polanski of TCU.
Freshman Josh Esler and junior Nathan Lashley are both tied for ninth places after shooting 2-under 70s on Friday. For Esler, it was his first under-par tally since Feb. 2 (nine rounds), while seven of Lashley's under-par rounds have come this spring.
Freshman Henry Liaw shot an opening-round 71 (-1) and is tied for 16th place. Also competing for the Wildcats is Nathan Tyler, who finished with a 1-over 73 and is tied for 36th place.
The Hall of Fame Invitational runs through Sunday at Redstone Golf Club in Humble, Texas, a par 72, 7,352-yard layout.