Randall’s Rant: With betting, expect more obnoxious fans at PGA Tour events
The NCAA Division I men’s regionals got underway Monday at six sites around the country. The top five teams and low individual on a non-advancing team will advance to the May 25-30 NCAA Championship at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla.
Here are the first-round results from the Raleigh (N.C.), Kissimmee (Fla.), Columbus (Ohio), Bryan (Texas), Norman (Okla.) and Stockton (Calif.) regionals:
Raleigh regional, at Lonnie Poole Golf Course:
Leader (click here for full team scores): Texas (-13)
Second place: Georgia Tech (-10)
Also in position: N.C. State (-9), Arizona State (-8), Santa Clara (-8)
Work to do: Augusta (-6), Middle Tennessee State (-4), Liberty (-4), Missouri (-4), Duke (-3), California (E)
Individual leaders (click here for full individual scores): Doug Ghim, Texas; Justin Burkhamer, Iona College (both at -7)
Skinny: Led by Hogan Award finalist Doug Ghim’s 7-under 64, Texas took the lead over both the top seed (Georgia Tech) and the host school (N.C. State). All four counting scores for the Longhorns were in the 60s. Playing on their home course, N.C. State’s Stephen Franken, a Freshman of the Year contender, and Benjamin Shipp shot 65 and 67, respectively, to keep the Wolfpack in the mix. They haven’t been to an NCAAs as a team since 2011. Ninth-seeded Santa Clara is in position early, but the biggest surprise was Cal, the 2 seed that had to fly all the way across the country to play this regional. Player of the Year contender Collin Morikawa made four late birdies to salvage a 68, but only one of his teammates broke par on Day 1. The Golden Bears are already eight shots off the cut line at a regional that should have low scoring the rest of the way.
Kissimmee regional, at Reunion Resort:
Leaders (click here for full team scores): Florida and UCF (-12)
Third place: Kent State (-8)
Also in position: South Florida (-6), Vanderbilt (-5), North Carolina (-5)
Work to do: Arizona (-4), Jacksonville State (-2), Purdue (E)
Individual leaders (click here for full individual scores): George Cunningham, Arizona; Chase Johnson, Kent State; UCF’s Juuso Kahlos and Bobby Bai (all at -5)
Skinny: Delayed by more than an hour because of heavy rain in the area, two Florida-based schools got off to a hot start at another low-scoring regional. The Gators, who shockingly failed to advance past regionals last year despite being the 1 seed, counted three scores of 69 or better on Day 1. UCF is the 10 seed in the regional, but the Knights are also the de facto host school, even though this isn’t their home track. Top-seeded Vanderbilt got off to a solid but unspectacular start, still inside the top-5 cut line, despite a poor opening round by top player Theo Humphrey, whose 75 was dropped.
Columbus regional, at Ohio State University’s Scarlet Course:
Leader (click here for full team scores): Oklahoma State (-3)
Second place: UNLV (E)
Also in position: Illinois (E), Northwestern (+8), Penn State (+9)
Work to do: Texas Tech (+13), Wake Forest (+15), Louisville (+16)
Individual leader (click here for full individual scores): Michael Feagles, Illinois (-3)
Skinny: No surprise to already see some separation between the legitimate contenders and pretenders in this regional, played on the most difficult course. All four of top-ranked Oklahoma State’s four counters shot par or better on the difficult track, while UNLV has three players inside the top 8 individually. Illinois seems to be peaking at the right time of year, with Michael Feagles leading the way with a 68 on Day 1 and their two senior leaders, Nick Hardy and Dylan Meyer both shooting even par. The most interesting team to watch is Texas Tech, the 3 seed in the regional. The Red Raiders held out their best player, senior Fredrik Nilehn, for three events because of a back injury, and he returned to the lineup with a 78 that had to count. If not for Hurly Long’s 1-under 70, this team would already be toast.
Bryan regional, at Traditions Club:
Leader (click here for full team scores): Texas A&M (-9)
Second place: Baylor (-6)
Also in position: Clemson (-5), UCLA (E), South Carolina (+5)
Work to do: Ole Miss (+6), Bradley (+9), Kentucky (+10), Georgia (+15)
Individual leaders (click here for full individual scores): Chandler Phillips and Brandon Smith, Texas A&M; Cooper Dossey, Baylor (all at -4)
Skinny: Each of the three top seeds in the regional came to play Monday, as they sit 1-2-3 on the leaderboard. The Aggies, playing on their home track, got 68s from both Phillips and Smith and only dropped a 1-over 73. Baylor, which reached match play a year ago, also is off to a strong start thanks to Dossey’s 68 and two other players who broke par. Both of those teams are already double digits ahead of the top-5 cut line. For fourth-seeded Kentucky, Chip McDaniel’s 69 was the lone bright spot – the Wildcats also counted scores of 77 and 79. Keep an eye on Ole Miss. The Rebels are one shot off the cut line after Day 1, but their star player, Braden Thornberry, opened with 69 and would be in the mix to advance as the low individual if the team can’t grab one of the available spots.
Norman regional, at Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club:
Leader (click here for full team scores): Oklahoma (-5)
Second place: Auburn (E), Arkansas (E), North Florida (E)
Also in position: San Diego State (+2)
Work to do: Florida State (+5), Missouri-Kansas City (+5), Nevada (+6), Pepperdine (+7), Virginia (+9)
Individual leader (click here for full individual scores): Blaine Hale, Oklahoma (-5)
Skinny: Defending national champion Oklahoma got off to a strong start at its home regional, with Blaine Hale and Quade Cummins leading the way for the Sooners with scores of 67 and 69, respectively. Surprisingly, the team had to drop a 75 from senior leader Grant Hirschman. A pair of SEC teams put together a solid even par round, while Missouri-Kansas City, the 12 seed in the regional, is lurking just a few shots off the cut line after Day 1. Only 15 players broke par on what proved to be a touch day for scoring.
Stockton regional, at The Reserve at Spanos Park
Leader (click here for full team scores): Iowa State (-10)
Second place: Kansas (-7)
Also in position: Alabama (-6), TCU (-5), Stanford (-3)
Work to do: Oregon (+1), Colorado (+2), LSU (+5), Southern Cal (+7)
Individual leaders (click here for full individual scores): Daniel Sutton, Kansas; Brandon Wu, Stanford; Ryan Han, UC Davis (all at -5)
Skinny: This was by far the most surprising regional after 18 holes. Iowa State is a 10 seed, while Kansas is an 8 seed. There’s a lot of golf left to play, but those two teams outpacing Alabama, LSU and Co. is a stunner so far. Speaking of the Tigers, the top seed in the regional, they’re already eight shots off the cut line after a day in which only two of their five players broke par. Two shots worse than LSU, however, is Pac-12 champion Southern Cal. Despite having a huge advantage of playing in their home state, no Trojans player broke par, and that includes Haskins Award favorite Justin Suh. Oregon’s Norman Xiong appears primed to take advantage of Suh’s early missteps, opening with 68. The only team with a worse first-round score than USC was North Dakota State.