SAN ANTONIO — Senior Hayden Anderson shot a 2-under-par 70 while classmate Will Evans posted a 72 to lead Georgia Southern to a seventh-place standing after the first day of the NCAA Golf Championships San Antonio Regional at Briggs Ranch Golf Club Thursday.
Georgia Southern (+3) is one stroke behind TCU (+2) and UCLA (+2), which are tied for fifth, and three strokes behind SMU (E) and Central Florida (E), which are tied for third.
Anderson is tied for sixth in the individual standings, three strokes off the lead held by TCU’s Julien Brun (-5) and SMU’s Bryson Dechambeau (-5). Evans is tied for 15th.
The top-5 teams and the top individual not on those teams advance to the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship Finals at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kansas, May 23-28.
Georgia (-7) leads the field, and College of Charleston (-3) is second. Georgia State (+4) is one stroke behind the Eagles in eighth place, and Vanderbilt (+7) is in ninth. South Florida (+8) rounds out the logjam stretching from third to 10th.
Scott Wolfes shot a 74 for the Eagles, and Charlie Martin posted a 75. Matthew Mierzejewski carded a 77.
Georgia Southern got off to a bit of a rough start and was 6-over as a team as it made the turn. The Eagles finished strong, and today’s four counters notched nine birdies combined and played the final eight holes 5-under-par.
“We got off to a bumpy start and made some mistakes around the turn but played very solid on the back with two 34s and a 35 so we’re not very far from where we want to be,” said Georgia Southern coach Larry Mays. “The wind was coming from a different direction today than during the practice round, and we didn’t adjust very well until later in the day.”
Anderson and Evans led the charge, both playing the back nine at 2-under. Anderson posted three of his team-leading five birdies of the day with just one bogey, and Evans also logged three birdies and a bogey on the back.
After shooting 3-over on the front with a double bogey on hole 9, Wolfes cleaned things up and played the back nine 1-under with birdies on holes 12 and 14 and a bogey on 15.
Martin played the front nine at 1-over, but was hurt by a double bogey on hole 10. He bogeyed hole 15 to fall to 4-over but rallied to sink a 12-foot birdie putt on 18.
Mierzejewski, who has not played in a tournament for the Eagles since the win at the Schenkel Invitational in March, had to shake off the rust on the front. Hurt by a double bogey on hole 6, the junior made the turn at 5-over but rallied to play his final nine holes of the day at even par.
Action at the three-day, 54-hole tournament continues Friday, and Georgia Southern will be paired with Georgia State and Vanderbilt. The Eagles will tee off hole 10 at 9 a.m. Eastern, and the order will be: Mierzejewski, Martin, Wolfes, Evans and Anderson.
“Hopefully, being first off the tee and starting on the back will help us get off to a better start tomorrow,” said Mays. “The wind didn’t really kick up until the fifth or sixth hole today so we’d like to get some good scores early and build some momentum.”