WEST LAFAYETTE, IN -- No. 18-ranked Texas A&M opened with a round of 309 on Wednesday and is tied for 12th place after the first round of the 111th NCAA Men's Golf Championship at the Kampen Course at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex.
The national champion will not be determined until Saturday's final round, but the winner on the opening day was clearly the golf course. Of the 156 players in the field, only six managed to shoot par or better. The average score on the par-72, 7,450-yard layout was almost seven-over-par.
"The golf course is awesome," A&M Coach J.T. Higgins said. "If you miss the fairways you are in five inches of rough. If you miss it bad you have two feet of rough. You have hit it long and straight. It's what a championship golf course should be."
No. 3 Southern California and No. 4 UCLA are tied for the lead at nine-over (297), 12 strokes ahead of the Aggies. No. 5 Oklahoma State is one shot back at 298.
"We were tentative on the greens and that cost us a few shots," Higgins said. "We got off to a rough start but I was proud of way we fought back. We played better than we scored. We were 11-over on the three easiest holes and that's pretty much inexcusable. We left a lot of shots out there, but we're still in good position and are within striking distance."
A&M was led by sophomore Andrea Pavan (ahn-DRAY-uh puh-VAHN), who is tied for 23rd after carding a 75. Sophomore Nacho Elvira (el-VEE-ruh) (77) and senior Bobby Gates (77) are tied for 53rd, junior Bronson Burgoon (8) is tied for 100th and junior Matt Van Zandt (82) is tied for 120th.
UCLA's Kevin Chappell is the individual leader after firing a three-under 69.
The 30-team field will be trimmed to the top 15 after Friday's third round.
No. 14 Clemson and Kent State are tied for fourth (301), followed by Illinois (302), No. 7 Florida (302), No. 1 Georgia (303), Washington (305), No. 16 Auburn (306), No. 8 Charlotte (306), A&M (309), No. 6 Stanford (309), No. 2 Alabama (309), Middle Tennessee State (309), San Diego State (310), No. 19 Arizona State (311), No. 23 Louisville (311), Texas (311), UAB (311), Virginia (312), No. 24 Indiana (313), No. 20 East Tennessee State (313), No. 17 Wake Forest (314), Penn State (315), Oregon (315), UC Irvine (320), Mississippi State (326), Augusta State (326) and St. Mary's (Calif.) (333).