PALO ALTO, Calif. - Senior All-SEC performer and All-America candidate Sang Yi opened the 2012 NCAA Palo Alto Regional by firing a brilliant 4-under par round of 66 in Thursday's first round to tie for the individual lead with the 54-hole championship being held this weekend at the Stanford Golf Course.
Yi carded five birdies and just one bogey on his round to pace the No. 5-seeded and No. 23-ranked Tigers into a tie for eighth place in the team standings with a score of 2-over par 282 in the opening round.
The No. 11-seeded San Francisco Dons blistered the par-70 layout at the Stanford Golf Course in the first round as they jumped out to an early three-shot lead with an 18-hole team score of 7-under 273. The Dons were led by Mat Miller, Ji Hwan Park and Taylor Travis, who each fired opening-round scores of 2-under par 68 to finish the day two shots behind Yi and BYU's Zachary Blair in a tie for seventh place.
The No. 7-ranked and No. 1-seeded finished the day in second place in the team standings with a score of 4-under par 276, while the No. 8-ranked and No. 2-seeded Stanford Cardinal fired a team score of 3-under 277 to finish in third place. No. 4 seed Central Florida, No. 6 seed UAB and No. 7 seed Wichita State tied one another for fourth place with matching team scores of 2-under 278 in Thursday's action.
The top five teams in the final tournament standings and the low individual not among the top five squads following 54 holes of competition will advance to the 2012 NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championships being held May 29-June 3 at historic Riviera Golf Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
While teeing off from the back nine to start the round, Yi fired out of the blocks with a birdie on No. 10 to quickly drop to 1-under par on the day en route to a tournament-low score of 4-under par 66.
Yi then fell to 3-under for his round with birdies at the par-four 13th hole and par-three 17th hole before he gave up his only shot of the day with a bogey at the par-four 18th hole while making the turn at 2-under on the day. After making six-straight pars to start the front nine, Yi dipped into red figures again with birdies at the par-five seventh and par-four ninth holes to finish the day at 4-under 66.
Yi finished the day tied for first place on the leaderboard with BYU's Zachary Blair, who also carded five birdies with just one bogey on his round while firing a matching score of 4-under 66 on Thursday.
Freshman Curtis Thompson was also impressive in his NCAA Regional debut as he fired a 1-under par 69 to help lead the Tigers in the opening round. Thompson carded one eagle at the par-five seventh as well as three birdies and four bogeys en route to a final score of 1-under 69 on the afternoon.
Fellow freshman Stewart Jolly shot a 2-over 72 to tie for 47th place, while sophomore Andrew Presley had a 5-over 75 to tie for 63rd place and senior Austin Gutgsell posted a 9-over 79 to finish in 74th place.
The Tigers are paired with No. 3-seeded San Diego State and No. 8-seeded Tennessee in the tournament's second round on Friday as they will tee off in the first wave off the back nine beginning at 10 a.m. CDT. Live scoring of the second and third rounds of the 2012 NCAA Palo Alto Regional will be provided by Golfstat and can be found online throughout the weekend at www.golfstat.com.
NCAA PALO ALTO REGIONAL - FIRST ROUND RESULTS
TEAM SCORES (Par 280)
1. San Francisco 273 -7; 2. California 276 -4; 3. Stanford 277 -3; T4. Central Florida 278 -2; T4. UAB 278 -2; T4. Wichita State 278 -2; 7. Tennessee 280 E; T8. LSU 282 +2; T8. San Diego State 282 +2; T10. Oregon State 287 +7; T10. Southeastern Louisiana 287 +7; T10. San Jose State 287 +7; 13. UC-Davis 293 +13.
TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS (Par 70)
T1. Sang Yi, LSU, 66 -4; T1. Zachary Blair, BYU, 66 -4; T3. Michael Kim, California, 67 -3; T3. Brandon Hagy, California, 67 -3; T3. Louis Cohen Boyer, Wichita State, 67 -3; T3. Josh Anderson, Pepperdine, 67 -3; T7. Patrick Grimes, Stanford, 68 -2; T7. Thomas Sutton, UAB, 68 -2; T7. Ricardo Gouveia, Central Florida, 68 -2; T7. Mat Miller, San Francisco, 68 -2; T7. Jay Vandeventer, Tennessee, 68 -2; T7. Justin Estrada, San Jose State, 68 -2; T7. Taylor Travis, San Francisco, 68 -2; T7. Ji Hwan Park, San Francisco, 68 -2; T7. John MacArthur, Pepperdine, 68 -2; T7. Allan Jun, UC-Irvine, 68 -2.