NCAA men's golf championship: Rain and darkness delay and suspend day one
Four Pac-12 men's golf teams slogged through a rainy, wet first round of the NCAA championship golf tournament at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois -- but only one of them finished. Inclement conditions stopped play twice, forcing teams back to the clubhouse for prolonged delays. That triggered a domino effect: At around 8 p.m. CT, darkness forced the end of the day's action with three teams still out on the course. Play will resume Saturday morning.
Only Arizona State managed to escape weather-related inconvenience on the first day of the tournament, finishing a collective two strokes over par, tied for 17th place in the incomplete field. The No. 23 Sun Devils had an earlier tee time than their Pac-12 counterparts, so all five of their golfers wrapped up 18 holes before the afternoon's first delay. The star of the show here was freshman Chun An Yu, one of three impressive Arizona State youngsters. Yu -- who goes by 'Kevin' -- proved ready for the moment, shooting a 69 to finish at three-under on the par-72 course. He birdied back-to-back holes on the 12th and 13th before eagling the par-5, 525-yard 18th hole to finish with a bang, tying him for seventh on the individual list.
— ASUmensgolf (@asumensgolf) May 26, 2017
The Trojans came close to finishing 18 holes, but only one of their players beat the horn of darkness. That was Andrew Levitt, who finished at one-under. At closing time, Justin Suh was enjoying USC's strongest round of the day. He started on the back nine and still had three holes of the front nine to go when nightfall hit. Suh's four-under through these 15 holes has positioned him in a tie for third overall, while the Trojans -- who entered the tournament ranked No. 1 and with well-wishes from football coach Clay Helton -- are in fourth place at a collective four-under, trailing only Vanderbilt (-8), Auburn (-6), and Oklahoma State (-5) in the overall standings.
— Clay Helton (@USCCoachHelton) May 26, 2017
The No. 2-ranked Cardinal stumbled through a rocky start to the championship. Top Stanford performers Viraat Badhwar and Isaiah Salinda have only completed 16 holes so far, both at par. The rest of the Cardinal crew, including phenom and Ben Hogan Award winner Maverick McNealy, is struggling. The senior, who is currently the No. 2-ranked amateur in the world, has a double bogey and a pair of bogey's marring his 14-hole scorecard so far. His three-over throws him way down the leaderboard, tied for 106th at the moment. As a team, Stanford is tied for 17th at two-over, so the Cardinal have some work to do as they finish the first round and take on the second on Saturday.
Darkness settling in. Cardinal won't be able to finish opening round. Currently tied for ninth at 1-under with a few shots left to play. pic.twitter.com/pDvJ8shpCh
— Stanford Men's Golf (@StanfordMGolf) May 27, 2017
The Ducks, defending national champions, teed off later than all three other Pac-12 teams. Sulman Raza, the leading Oregon player who opened with three straight birdies, still has four first-round holes to finish when play resumes tomorrow. He's currently at one-under, while Norman Xiong and Edwin Yi are both even with most of the front nine still left to play. Collectively, the Ducks are even and tied for 11th place as they try to replicate last season's storybook ending, which ended with a dramatic title when Raza sunk the winning putt in front of a friendly crowd in Eugene.