One day down and one giant step toward a championship taken.
The CSU Rams menâ€™s golf team sits in first place after the opening round of the Mountain West Conference Championships at OMNI Tucson National Golf Course in Arizona. The Rams shot an impressive team round of 283 (-1) and grabbed a two stroke lead over second place San Diego State in the process.
CSU head coach Jamie Bermel was proud of his teamâ€™s performance Thursday but said there is still a lot of room for improvement.
â€œWe got off to good start but didnâ€™t finish well on the 18th hole,â€ he said. â€œYou can turn around and lose it in those situations, but we put ourselves in good position, so weâ€™ll see what happens.â€
Leading the Rams Thursday were sophomores Zahkai Brown and Ryan Peterson. The duo both shot opening rounds of 70 (-1), good enough for a share of the individual player lead. Senior Riley Arp also had a good day, posting a 71 (E) including an eagle on the 11th hole. Arp currently sits in a tie for fifth place.
Although not as impressive as their teammates, Dustin Morris and Bryce Hanstad also had solid opening rounds shooting 72 ( 1) and 73 ( 2), respectively.
Bermel explained that he wasnâ€™t surprised Brown and Peterson stepped up so much on the opening day of the tournament.
â€œThey are younger, but they are two are pretty staunch players,â€ he said. â€œBoth of them have been in positions like this before. Ryan (Peterson) has been solid all spring.â€
Even with a two stroke lead early in the tournament, Bermel said the Rams havenâ€™t really shown anything yet. The 11 year CSU coach pointed out his team needs to stay aggressive on par-fives and use their experience to continue playing patiently.
â€œItâ€™s only day one, so Iâ€™m not worried about the lead,â€ Bermel said.
â€œIâ€™m more worried about how we play tomorrow. Still, two strokes up is better than two strokes down.â€
The MWC Championship is scheduled to resume today at 8 a.m. with the final round set for Saturday.
Assistant Sports Editor Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at email@example.com.