AUBURN, Alabama -- Sam Houston rallied for six birdies in the final four holes of the first round of the NCAA Regional Men’s Golf Championships Thursday afternoon to stay in contention for a berth in the national finals.
Tied for sixth place after completing the back nine with a team score of five-over par, the Bearkats ran into trouble on the second nine with a string of bogies.
But Zack Cabra birdied six, seven and nine, Logan Boatner carded birds on seven and eight and Albert Miner birdied the seventh hole to complete a strong Bearkat finish.
After the first 18 holes of the 54-hole event at Auburn Country Club’s 7,254-yard, par 72 course, Sam Houston is tied for ninth place in the 14-team field.
More important, however, is that the Bearkats’ first-day total of 300 puts them just three strokes behind the two teams tied for fifth place.
“We ran into some trouble on the second night but fought back and now we’re just three strokes out from qualifying for the national championships,” Sam Houston head coach Brandt Kieschnick said.
The low five teams and the low individual not on those teams will advance from the regional to the finals May 23-25 at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kansas.
Defending national champion Alabama leads the Auburn Regional after 18 holes with a one-under par total of 287. Texas (293), Auburn (294) and Colorado (296) stand second through fourth, respectively, while Kennesaw State and Louisville are tied for fifth at 297.
North Carolina (298) and Brigham Young (299) rank seventh and eighth while Sam Houston and UC-Davis are tied for ninth at 300. Virginia Tech (301), New Mexico (302), Alabama State and Saint John’s round out the tournament standings.
“With last night’s rain and the high winds today, this was a completely different golf course than the one we saw yesterday in the practice round,” Kieschnick said. “I was really proud of the way we kept our composure when we had some adversity. This is a really tough course, especially with the wind today. To fight back and get those birdies was something. Five of the birdies came on the three holes we didn’t have the opportunity to play when the practice round was stopped by the rain.”
Robin Sciot-Siegrist of Louisville leads the individual medalist standings with a three-under-par 69.
Sam Houston’s Zach Cabra stands fourth individually with his one-under 71.
Other Bearkat scores Thursday were Klein Klotz and Logan Boatner both tied for 38th with 76 totals,
Albert Miner 46th at 77 and Andrew Johnson a73rd at 84.
The NCAA Regional tournament continues Friday with the second round. The third and final round will be played Saturday.
Sam Houston’s appearance in the tournament marks the men’s golf program’s first as a team in NCAA regional competition.