The CSU men’s golf team is off to a slow start in their bid for a second consecutive Mountain West Conference championship in Tucson, Ariz., sitting in a three-way tie for fifth with BYU and Utah.
The Rams shot 7 over par in the first round on the par-71, 7,163-yard Catalina Course of the Omni Tucson National Golf Club.
“I am disappointed,” head coach Jamie Bermel. “We were just sloppy out there and we wasted several strokes. We just were not good from top to bottom.”
“For some reason, the past four or five tournaments we have gotten out to a poor start and we have always come back strong the last day. I think we are going to come out firing hard tomorrow,” junior Riley Arp said. “I think if we can shoot 8 or 9 under in the next two rounds, we will have a pretty good chance.”
TCU, the highest ranked MWC school at No. 17 in the nation, is the current leader of the tournament, shooting 8 under par for the day.
Seven strokes back in second position is No. 22 San Diego State, shooting 1 under par.
New Mexico shot an even par in the first 18 holes to put themselves in the third spot followed by UNLV in fourth shooting 5 over par.
Tom Hodge for TCU is the current individual leader shooting 4 under par.
Arp is the only Ram golfer in the top-10, sitting tied for the seventh spot with Brady Johnson of BYU and J.J. Spaun of San Diego State. The trio shot 1 under for the day.
“If I could get my putter to start working I think I could go up in the standings. I am hitting the ball better than I have anytime this year and I don’t see it coming to an end anytime soon,” Arp said. “I made a pretty good run today but just let it slide with a few three-putts.”
Arp, coming off his best performance of the season in last week’s Cougar Classic, is the only CSU golfer in the top-20 after seven birdies in the first round.
Senior Zen Brown shot 2 over par for the day placing himself in the 22nd spot while brother freshman Zahkai Brown and teammate junior Bryce Hanstad sit one stroke back in a three-way tie for 31st, shooting 3-over.
Junior Dustin Morris did not have the day he expected, shooting 7 over par and sitting in 43rd position among the 45 individual golfers competing.
The Rams have two more rounds to make up the 15 strokes that separate CSU from leader TCU.
“We just have to go out there and not play sloppy. We are hitting the ball fine and putting fine. We just have to eliminate the mental breakdowns,” coach Bermel said.
The second round is scheduled to begin this morning at 8 a.m.
The tournament can be followed with live, up-to-date stats on http://www.golfstat.com.
Men’s golf beat writer Justin Warren can be reached at email@example.com.