Round 1 recap: Jon Rahm, Arizona State charge out in front

Arizona State holds the early lead and two of the five competing Pac-12 schools are in the top five after Tuesday's opening round at the NCAA men's golf championships in Atlanta. After the third round is concluded Thursday, the eight lowest teams will move into a match-play format with championship play concluding June 2.
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Who invited the Sun Devils to the top of the leader board? Seeded 27th out of the 30 teams in Atlanta, the Forks are No. 1 through 18 holes with a first-round 270 (-10). The main reason for that? This guy:

 

Yeah, Jon Rahm has the individual lead with NCAA opening round record 61 (-9), giving the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year a four-stroke lead over Oklahoma's Abraham Ancer. Also contributing to the Tim Mickelson effort were Max Rottluff (-2, tied for eighth), Austin Quick (E) and Spencer Lawson (+1). And, before we leave Arizona State, what would a Sun Devil recap be without a thought from Doug Tammaro?

Or en fuego. Either or.


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This Golden Bears squad is being considered the best men's golf team ever, but there's still one accomplishment left for Cal, and that's the NCAA championship. Perhaps you're raising an eyebrow that the Golden Bears are fifth after a Tuesday 277 (-3), but that's prime position for moving on to match-play. Doesn't matter if the Golden Bears are first after Thursday; it matters whether or not they can knock off teams head-to-head Friday through Sunday (I'll leave it to NCAA.com's Joe Menzer for more details).  In order to get to Friday, Cal must finish in eighth or better, so Steve Desimone's boys are right on track. Brandon Hagy had the most impressive round for the Golden Bears, birdieing three of his last four holes to get to 4-under and getting him into a tie for third.


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The Golden Bears aren't the only Pac-12 men's golf team receiving nationwide attention; the Huskies are being featured by PGATOUR.com as they make their way through the NCAA regionals and championships. So far, so-so for the Huskies, who are in a tie for ninth with North Florida (which beat out Washington for the Tallahassee regional title) after carding a team sum of 281 (+1) for their opening round. Matt Thurmond's dudes are only two strokes out of the top eight (Oklahoma State and Texas are both 1-under), so they are still very much in the thick of things. Leading the way for Washington was the 2-under of Trevor Simsby (tied for eighth), who got off to quite the start by birdieing four of his first five holes.

Chris Williams, the unassuming top amateur in the world and Ben Hogan Award winner, parred every hole besides 16, which he double-bogeyed, so he's 2-over heading into Wednesday.


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The third-ranked Bruins teed it up on the Crabapple Course at the Capital City Club today as one of the major contenders for a spot in the match-play portion of the championship event. If that is to hold true, however, the Bruins are going to have to seriously change their fortunes over the next 36 holes -- UCLA is in 23rd after shooting 289 (+9) over their first 18. Nobody really had an exceptionally bad day, but nobody stood out either -- all five of Derek Freeman's golfers shot either 2-over or 3-over.


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In case you didn't know, the Crabapple Course is a par 70, even though there are a couple of very long par-4s. The Trojans were quick to point this out during a practice round:

 

USC had a little trouble with 9 and 16 -- the five Trojans in Atlanta combined to shoot 3-over on those holes -- as it finished up Tuesday in a tie for 25th with Florida at 11-over. Most of the group was pretty good, but since two guys shot in the 80s, one of them (Stewart Hagestad's 80 (+10)) had to count. Anthony Paolucci was the lone Chris Zambri pupil under par today with his 69, birdieing the last hole in the process to get into a tie for 20th, while NCAA pullman Regional co-champion Sam Smith shot 1-over along with teammate Yi Keun Chang.

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