No.17 Aggies 8 Strokes Back In Arizona

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TEMPE, AZ -- No. 17-ranked Texas A&M rallied from a rough start to open with a three-over-par 287 on Friday and is in fifth place after the first round of the Arizona State Thunderbird Invitational at the Karsten Golf Course.

The Aggies were six-over through 11 holes but played the last seven in three-under to climb back into contention. Arizona State and Arizona State “B” are tied for first at five-under (279). Colorado State is in third (280) and Denver is in fourth (285).

A&M leads Baylor (291), Oregon (291), UC Irvine (292), New Mexico (292), Pacific (292), Oklahoma (293), California (295), Arizona (295), CSU Northridge (297), Connecticut (300) and San Diego State (304).

Arizona State’s Braxton Marquez and New Mexico’s Kyle Nielsen are tied for the individual lead after firing five-under 66s.

A&M’s Bobby Gates is tied for 8th after carding a two-under 69 and teammate Matt Van Zandt is tied for 11th with a 70. The Aggies’ Trey Todd and Nacho Elvira are tied for 41st with a pair of 74s and Bronson Burgoon is tied for 85th after an 81.

Van Zandt was three-over through 12 holes, but played the last six in four-under, including an eagle on the par-5 14th. Elvira was five-over through 10, but birdied four of the next five holes to get back to one-over before bogeying two of the last three. Gates birdied two of his first three holes and remained under par the rest of the day.

“Today was all heart for us,” A&M Coach J.T. Higgins said. “We didn’t play that well but the guys hung in there, battled and managed to stay in contention. I have no doubt that we’ll play better the next couple of days. We are in great position for the rest of the weekend.”

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