The good news for the fourth-ranked Alabama golf team after the first day of the prestigious Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters in Las Vegas is that the Crimson Tide is only three strokes out of the lead. The bad news is that Bama is in sixth place with some very good teams in contention.
The Southern Highlands tournament, sponsored by UNLV, includes many of the nation’s top teams – nine of the top 15. Alabama shot a six-over-par 294 and is three strokes behind leading Arizona State.
The Southern Highlands Golf Club course is plenty tough enough, playing at 7,510 yards (par 72), and it was tougher still on Monday. The teams battled windy conditions and cooler than normal temperatures. Only nine golfers broke par.
Only six strokes separate the top 11 teams after Monday’s play. The 54-hole tournament continues today and concludes Wednesday.
Arizona State, ranked No. 14 in the nation, is the opening-day leader after carding a three-over par 291. There is a four-way tie for second, as No. 1 Illinois, No. 8 Southern Cal, No. 10 Oklahoma State, and No. 35 SMU each carded 4-over 292s.
The Tide was paced by freshman Davis Riley, who shot an even par 72, tied for 10th individually. Senior Tom Lovelady is a stroke back of Riley (tied for 16th) and sophomore Jonathan Hardee another stroke back at 74 and tied for 23rd.
Junior Robby Shelton, who was the individual leader last year, is tied for 34th following his opening round of 75.
Junior Robby Prater had a 77.
Alabama will begin the second round at 8:50 a.m. PST (10:50 a.m. central time) off hole No. 1.