Alabama got even-par rounds from junior All-America Robby Shelton and sophomore Jonathan Hardee as the Crimson Tide is tied for 15th place after the first round of the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship in Eugene, Oregon.
Alabama, ranked 13th in the nation, carded a team total of 10-over-par 290 and is eight strokes out of the lead. Bama is in a four-way tie with No. 4 Illinois, No. 7 Arizona State, and No. 18 Oklahoma.
Following Friday’s early tee time, the 17th-seeded Crimson Tide will tee off the second round on Saturday at 12:20 p.m. PDT (2:20 p.m. CDT) and will be paired with No. 16 seed Florida and No. 18 seed Oklahoma.
Shelton and Hardee were at even-par 70 on the 7,014-yard Eugene Country Club course and are tied for 16th individually, three strokes behind co-leaders Nahum Mendoza III of San Diego State, Will Starke of South Carolina, and Theo Humphrey of Vanderbilt.
“I thought both Jonathan and Robby did a great job today,” Alabama Coach Jay Seawell said. “To shoot even par on this particular golf course is good.
“I thought as a team we were a little emotional today. I think we need to get a little more resilient because this golf course is tough and it will test you, and when those tests come we have to do a little better of a job handling that. I know we will do that because that’s something we’ve done all year. We look forward to the challenge before us.”
Shelton, who entered this year’s championship as the ninth-ranked player in the nation according to the Golfweek.com’s individual rankings, collected 14 pars to go along with a pair of bogeys and birdies. Shelton ended his round with a string of 10 consecutive pars.
Hardee finished the day with four birdies, which were the most by any Tide golfer during Friday’s 18 holes, to go along with four bogeys to record his lowest round since a final round of 69 at the Puerto Rico Classic in February.
Freshman Davis Riley and senior Tom Lovelady both finished at 5-over par 75, while junior Dru Love rounded out the Tide with a 6-over 76.
The championship’s day one highlight came when Florida State’s Cristobal Del Solar collected a hole-in-one on the 192-yard par 3 14th hole.
Arkansas, ranked 21st nationally, along with No. 44 TCU share the overall lead with both teams carding a 2-over par 282 on Friday. Third-ranked South Carolina, No. 8 Vanderbilt, and No. 22 San Diego State are in a three-way tie for third at 3-over par 283.
The 30-team field will be cut to 15 on Sunday after 54 holes. Those 15 teams will be whittled down to eight teams after a fourth round of stroke play on Monday. The eight teams will then begin three rounds of match play for the national title (1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, 3 vs. 6, 4 vs. 5) on Tuesday and Wednesday.