COLUMBIA, Mo. – The 14th-ranked and No. 3-seeded LSU Tigers find themselves right on the qualifying cut line for the NCAA Championships following Thursday’s first round at the NCAA Columbia Regional after they posted an opening score of 1-over par 289 to finish the afternoon in a tie for fourth place in the event being held at The Club at Old Hawthorne.
Senior Smylie Kaufman and juniors Stewart Jolly and Curtis Thompson fired matching scores of even-par 72 on Thursday to lead the way as they find themselves on the cusp of the Top 10 of the leaderboard in a tie for 12th place overall. They look to lead the Tigers into the NCAA Championships for the second-straight season and the fourth time in five seasons with a top-five team finish.
The top five teams in the final team standings will earn a berth into the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships to follow on May 23-28 at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan.
No. 2-ranked and No. 1-seeded Oklahoma State tied Missouri’s collegiate record round at The Club at Old Hawthorne by opening the NCAA Columbia Regional with a blistering 16-under par 272 to take a nine-shot lead over the tournament hosts. Missouri, hosting the tournament as the No. 8 seed in the 14-team field, opened with a team score of 7-under par 281 to finish the day nine shots off the pace set by the Cowboys.
No. 11-ranked and No. 2-seeded Virginia follows in third place after opening at 3-under par 285, while No. 24-ranked and No. 4-seeded Arkansas rounds out the qualifying positions in a tie for fourth place with LSU.
Jolly and Kaufman each carded two birdies and two bogeys on the day, while Thompson added three birdies and three bogeys on his round to finish at level par for 18 holes with their matching scores of even-par 72 to set the pace for the Tigers on the opening day in the competition. Sophomore Zach Wright added a 1-over par round of 73 toward LSU’s team total as he holed out on Thursday in a tie for 23rd place on the leaderboard, while junior Ben Taylor rounded out the lineup in a tie for 30th place with his opening score of 2-over par 74.
Oklahoma State has not only taken control of the team race with its performance in the opening round, but Cowboy teammates Jordan Niebrugge and Talor Gooch are locked in the early battle for the individual title as they claim the top two spots. Niebrugge fired a collegiate course record 7-under 65 to jump out to an early two-shot lead over Gooch, who posted a 5-under 67 in Thursday’s opener.
Missouri’s Hunter Kraus and Virginia’s David Pastore fired scores of 4-under 68 to tie for third place, while Virginia’s Denny McCarthy and Missouri’s Ryan Zech posted rounds of 3-under 69 to tie for fifth place.
The Tigers are paired with Arkansas and Arizona State in Friday’s second round and will tee off in the first wave off the front nine beginning at 8:20 a.m. CT. Golfstat will provide live scoring for both the second and third rounds at the NCAA Columbia Regional as fans can follow the Tigers competing throughout the weekend at www.golfstat.com.
NCAA COLUMBIA REGIONAL – FIRST ROUND RESULTS
TEAM SCORES (Par 288)
1. Oklahoma State 272 -16; 2. Missouri 281 -7; 3. Virginia 285 -3; 4. Arkansas 288 E; 5. LSU 289 +1; T6. Arizona State 291 +3; T6. Iowa 291 +3; 8. Iowa State 293 +5; 9. San Diego State 294 +6; 10. Denver 300 +12; 11. Middle Tennessee State 301 +13; T12. Loyola (Md.) 308 +20; T12. Ohio State 308 +20; 14. Bryant 316 +28.
TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS (Par 72)
1. Jordan Niebrugge, Oklahoma State, 65 -7; 2. Talor Gooch, Oklahoma State, 67 -5; T3. Hunter Kraus, Missouri, 68 -4; T3. David Pastore, Virginia, 68 -4; T5. Denny McCarthy, Virginia, 69 -3; T5. Ryan Zech, Missouri, 69 -3; T7. Wyndham Clark, Oklahoma State, 70 -2; T7. Emilio Cuartero, Missouri, 70 -2; T7. Ian Davis, Oklahoma State, 70 -2; T10. Taylor Moore, Arkansas, 71 -1; T10. Max Rottluff, Arizona State, 71 -1.