EUGENE, Ore. – Led by an opening-round 70 by freshman Luis Gagne in his first career round at the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships, the defending champion LSU Tigers posted a team score of 6-over par 286 to finish Friday’s first round in a tie for eighth place in the standings of the tournament being held at Eugene Country Club.
The Tigers find themselves just four shots off the pace following the first round of stroke-play qualifying while matching SEC rival Florida with an opening score of 286 to end the day in a tie for eighth place.
The Arkansas Razorbacks and TCU Horned Frogs, both playing in the morning pairings in the first round, grabbed an early one-shot lead with scores of 2-over par 282 to edge San Diego State, Southern California and Vanderbilt in a tie for third place at 3-over par 283. Oklahoma State and Florida State follow three shots off the pace in a tie for sixth place after posting rounds of 5-over par 285, while South Carolina and California sit in a tie for 10th place in the team standings after opening with scores of 7-over par 287.
The Top 15 in the 30-team field after 54 holes of stroke play on Sunday will advance to a fourth round on Monday with an eye on cracking the Top 8 in the final team standings and advancing into the eight-team match-play tournament for the national championship. LSU has qualified for match play at the NCAA Championships in each of the last two seasons.
Gagne was steady throughout his debut round at the NCAA Championships as he traded three birdies with three bogeys for a team-low even-par 70 to finish the day in a tie for 16th place on the leaderboard.
Each time Gagne gave away a shot with a bogey, he followed with a birdie to get himself back to even-par on his round. He traded a bogey at the par-three third hole with a birdie at the par-four fifth hole and a bogey at the par-four seventh hole with a birdie at the par-four ninth hole to make the turn in 36 on the front nine. He then carded a bogey at the par-three 11th and a birdie at the par-five 15th en route to a 70.
Like Gagne, senior Zach Wright and junior Brandon Pierce both made the turn at even-par in their rounds before Wright finished with a 2-over 72 to tie for 52nd place and Pierce holed out on the 18th green with a 3-over 73 to tie for 72nd place. Junior All-American Eric Ricard followed Gagne with the team’s second-lowest round of the day with a 1-over 71 to finish his opening round in a tie for 33rd place.
Freshman Sam Burns posted an opening-round 4-over 74 in his first ever round at the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships to finish the day in a tie for 87th place in the field of 156 players.
Three golfers grabbed an early one-shot lead in the race for the individual title as San Diego State’s Nahum Mendoza III, South Carolina’s Will Starke and Vanderbilt’s Theo Humphrey each fired a 3-under 69 to finish up Friday’s round in a tie for first place. TCU’s Chelso Barrett, Southern California’s Justin Suh and Arkansas’ Kolton Crawford ended one shot back with matching 2-under 68s.
Just as they did in Friday’s opener, the Tigers will play alongside Clemson and California in the second round on Saturday as they will tee off from the back nine beginning at 10:17 a.m. CT. Fans can follow all the action in Eugene by following @LSUMensGolf on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lsumensgolf and Instagram at http://instagram.com/lsumensgolfteam. Golfstat will also provide live scoring throughout the championship as it can be found online at http://www.golfstat.com.
NCAA DIVISION I MEN’S GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS – FIRST ROUND RESULTS
TEAM SCORES (Par 280)
T1. Arkansas 282 +2; T1. TCU 282 +2; T3. San Diego State 283 +3; T3. Southern California 283 +3; T3. Vanderbilt 283 +3; T6. Oklahoma State 285 +5; T6. Florida State 285 +5; T8. LSU 286 +6; T8. Florida 286 +6; T10. South Carolina 287 +7; T10. California 287 +7; T12. Texas 289 +9; T12. Kentucky 289 +9; T12. Wake Forest 289 +9; T15. Illinois 290 +10; T15. Alabama 290 +10; T15. Oklahoma 290 +10; T15. Arizona State 290 +10; T19. Louisville 291 +11; T19. Oregon 291 +11; T19. South Florida 291 +11; T19. Georgia 291 +11; T19. Clemson 291 +11; T24. Stanford 292 +12; T24. Virginia 292 +12; 26. Baylor 293 +13; T27. Auburn 294 +14; T27. UAB 294 +14; 29. Houston 296 +16; 30. Purdue 299 +19.
TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS (Par 70)
T1. Nahum Mendoza III, San Diego State, 67 -3; T1. Will Starke, South Carolina, 67 -3; T1. Theo Humphrey, Vanderbilt, 67 -3; T4. Chelso Barrett, TCU, 68 -2; T4. Justin Suh, Southern California, 68 -2; T4. Kolton Crawford, Arkansas, 68 -2; T7. K.K. Limbhasut, California, 69 -1; T7. Paul Barjon, TCU, 69 -1; T7. Lee McCoy, Georgia, 69 -1; T7. Will Zalatoris, Wake Forest, 69 -1; T7. David Boote, Stanford, 69 -1; T7. Riccardo Michelini, San Diego State, 69 -1; T7. Claudio Correa, South Florida, 69 -1; T7. Sebastian Crampton, California, 69 -1; T7. Sepp Straka, Georgia, 69 -1.