NCAA Men's Golf Regionals: Arizona's George Cunningham, Stanford's Brandon Wu sit atop leaderboards
Arizona's George Cunningham and Stanford's Brandon Wu are tied for first on their respective courses after the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Golf Regionals. Overall, Eight Pac-12 teams, Utah's Blake Tomlinson and Washington's Carl Yuan and Henry Lee are competing in regional action, which is taking place Monday through Wednesday across the country. The top five teams and top individual performer not on a top-five team from each regional will qualify for the NCAA Championships (May 25-30 in Stillwater, Oklahoma). Through 18 holes, three Pac-12 teams are in the top five of their regionals.
Raleigh Regional — Lonnie Poole Golf Course at NC State
Anchored by a scorching-hot round from Chun An Yu, Arizona State finds itself in a tie for fourth with Santa Clara at 8-under after Monday's round.
— Sun Devil Men's Golf (@sundevilmgolf) May 14, 2018
Yu blazed the trail for the Sun Devils, shooting 30 on the front nine — his last nine holes of the day — to get to get 6-under 65 for the round. That has him in a tie for second and one shot off the lead, currently held by Texas' Doug Ghim and Iona's Justin Burkhamer. Pac-12 All-Freshman selection Mason Andersen was also under par on Monday, shooting 2-under 69 to get himself in a tie for 15th. Everybody else, including first-team All-Pac-12er Alex del Rey and Pac-12 Championships top-10 finisher Koichiro Ishika, carded an even-par 71.
The second-seeded Golden Bears are in a bit of trouble down in 11th place in the 14-team regional with an even-par of 284 as a squad. While Ben Hogan Award finalist Collin Morikawa finished with four birdies over his last five holes to get to 3-under 68 and in a tie for eighth, three Bears shot over par, while two are currently in the bottom 20 of 75 on the individuals leaderboard in Raleigh.
There are still 36 holes to play, and the eight-stroke gap between Cal and the cut line is certainly manageable, but the Golden Bears are going to need to have some pretty good second and third rounds to make it to the NCAA Championships.
#Cal has finished its opening round at the NCAA Raleigh Regional with an even-par 284.
We'll break down where the Bears stand and what it all means when all of the other teams finish their rounds. pic.twitter.com/oWz7UQJZ4A
— Cal Men's Golf (@CalMensGolf) May 14, 2018
Bryan (Texas) Regional —Traditions Golf Club
Even par did the trick for UCLA as a team, as the Bruins' score of 288 has them in fourth place with a little breathing room to boot. The Bruins are up five strokes on fifth-place South Carolina and six strokes on sixth-place Ole Miss, the two teams they are most concerned with at the moment as threats to advance.
— UCLA Men's Golf (@uclamensgolf) May 14, 2018
Second team All-Pac-12 performer Cole Madey paved the way for UCLA with a 3-under 69, good for a tie for fourth on the player leaderboard (and just one shot back of the lead), while three Bruins shot 1-over to nullify Tyler Collier's 5-over 77. The 26th-ranked and fifth-seeded Bruins are nine strokes behind first-place host Texas A&M.
Kissimmee (Florida) Regional — Watson Course at Reunion Resort
The sixth-seeded Wildcats are right in the thick of things with a 4-under 284 that has them in seventh place. With Vanderbilt and North Carolina tied for fifth at 5-under, the Wildcats are just one shot off the cut line and also just two strokes behind fourth-place South Florida (-6).
George Cunningham was the story of the day for Arizona. The Tucson native is tied atop the player leaderboard at 5-under with Chase Johnson of Kent State and Juuso Kahlos and Bobby Bai of Central Florida. Cunningham got to 6-under after his 12th hole (the par-3 third) before coming back down to Earth a bit. But he finished strong with a birdie on the par-4 ninth. Teammate Brad Reeves was also under par for the day with a 1-under 71 thanks to birdies on his last two holes.
George Cunningham is tied in first after the first round of the Kissimmee Regional. His round of 67 is his 24th round under par this season! pic.twitter.com/mMlg4ZF37K
— Arizona Men's Golf (@ArizonaMGolf) May 14, 2018
Stockton (California) Regional- Spanos Regional Course
Stanford is currently the only Pac-12 team on the right side of the cut line, residing in fifth place at 3-under after 18 holes. Brandon Wu stole the show for the Cardinal, carding a 5-under 67 to get himself in a tie for with Kansas' Daniel Sutton and UC Davis' Ryan Han. The Card also got an under-par round from Jeffrey Swegle (-2), while Franklin Huang posted a 1-over 73 and Isaiah Salinda registered a 75. The Cardinal is two shots behind TCU for fourth.
— Stanford Men's Golf (@StanfordMGolf) May 14, 2018
The Ducks are four shots out of NCAA Championships contention for the time being, currently in sixth place at 1-over. Norman Xiong led Oregon with a 4-under 68 and played bogey-free golf after his first hole, registering an eagle on the par-5 16th in the process. Unfortunately for the Ducks, Xiong was the only Oregon golfer under par for the round, as Ryan Gronlund's even par was the next best score.
— Oregon Men's Golf (@OregonMGolf) May 14, 2018
A pair of 1-under 71's from Yannik Paul and Spencer Painton helped keep Colorado in the thick of the action, as the Buffs shot 2-over as a team and is currently in a tie for seventh with UC Irvine. Paul fought back from a double-bogey on 12 that dropped him to 2-over by birdieing three of the next five holes, while Painton had an eventful back nine (four birdies, three bogeys) after recording pars on every hole on the front nine.
For your unpleasant surprise of the day, Pac-12 champion USC is in 12th place with a 7-over 295 as a team. Only ahead of last-place North Dakota State, the fourth-seeded Trojans did not have a single golfer get into red numbers, as Cheng Jin's even par was the best round of the day. Meanwhile, Pac-12 Championships individual medalist and Pac-12 Player of the Year Justin Suh was 1-over and was unable to register a birdie over his final 11 holes. Again, it's only one round, and making up 10 strokes is totally doable (that's how far off the cut line USC currently is), but the Trojans didn't do themselves any favors on day one.
The Trojans have completed their 1st rd in the Pacific Region at +7, currently 16 back of the leaders, 10 back of 1st. Cheng Jin leads USC with an even round of 72, Justin Suh done at 73, Kaito Onishi at 74, Issei Tanabe at 76, Kyle Suppa at 77. 7 teams still playing. #FightOn
— USC Men’s Golf (@USCMensGolf) May 14, 2018
He doesn't have the full squad alongside him this week, but that hasn't stopped Washington's Carl Yuan. The Husky junior is just one shot back of the lead at 4-under, and that's after going bogey-bogey on 17 and 18 after being all alone in first place at 6-under through 16 holes. The one teammate he does have, Henry Lee, had a pretty snazzy day as well, shooting 2-under to get in a multi-way logjam for 13th.
— Washington Men's Golf (@UW_MGolf) May 14, 2018
Utah's Blake Tomlinson is also in that tie for 13th at 2-under, as the Pac-12 All-Frosh selection only bogeyed the par-3 15th like Washington's Henry Lee and birdied the 18th to get back to 70.