PULLMAN, Wash. — Texas A&M senior Chandler Phillips carded a 6-under 64, powering the 20th-ranked Aggie men’s golf team to the top of the leaderboard after the first round of the NCAA Pullman Regional on Monday at Palouse Ridge.
Phillips is in a three-way tie for first individually along with Oklahoma’s Garett Reband and BYU’s Carson Lundell. His 64 is the lowest single-round score in an NCAA regional in school history and matches the second-lowest round of his career.
A&M shot 11-under 269 as a team and holds a one-stroke lead over the fifth-ranked Sooners with No. 8 Georgia Tech (-9), BYU (-8) and Michigan State (-7) rounding out the top five. Florida and South Carolina, the only other Southeastern Conference teams in the 14-team field, are tied for sixth at 5-under. The top five teams in the three-day, 54-hole tournament advance to the NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas, starting on May 24.
“I am very pleased with how today went,” A&M coach J.T. Higgins said. “There wasn’t much wind. We were able to attack the golf course, and the guys did a great job top to bottom. Everyone put the ball in play off the tee pretty well, and we gave ourselves a lot of birdie looks. We only had six bogies and two doubles, and we made enough birdies and had a couple eagles to put a good score on the board. We did a really good job of being patient and sticking to the game plan.”
Phillips got off to a hot start, carding four birdies to just one bogey before the turn. He then eagled on No. 2 and added birdies at No. 5 and No. 8 before a bogey on No. 9 sent him into the clubhouse with a share of the lead. Phillips especially was effective on par-5s, carding birdies on all three, and par-4s, posting a 3.60 scoring average, second among all golfers in the first round.
“Chandler Phillips was phenomenal today,” Higgins said. “I’m really pleased with him, and Walker [Lee] was bogey free. Overall, everyone did a great job. All five guys were in it, and that makes it easier to shoot a good score as a team. We are looking forward to tomorrow and getting after it again.”
Lee, a sophomore, also eagled on No. 2 and added a birdie to card a 3-under 67, good for a piece of a 10-player logjam in ninth after the opening day. A&M’s two eagles were the most as a team in the first round.
Lee and Phillips were two of four Aggies under par in the first round. Junior Brandon Smith and freshman Sam Bennett, a Madisonville alumnus, are tied for 23rd after shooting 1-under 69s. Junior Dan Erickson is tied for 51st at 1-over 71.
The Aggies tee off with playing partners from Oklahoma and Georgia Tech at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. Live stats will be available at golfstat.com.
NOTE — Phillips was named one of 30 semifinalists for the Division I Jack Nicklaus National Player of the Year Award on Monday. This is the second season Phillips has made the list. There are six other semifinalists from the Southeastern Conference, including Vanderbilt’s John Augenstein, Will Gordon and Patrick Martin, Georgia’s Trent Phillips, Auburn’s Jovan Rebula and South Carolina’s Scott Stevens. The award recipients for each level of collegiate golf will be announced May 30.
NCAA PULLMAN REGIONAL LEADERBOARD
Team To Par Total
1. No. 20 Texas A&M -11 269
2. No. 5 Oklahoma -10 270
3. No. 8 Georgia Tech -9 271
4. BYU -8 272
5. Michigan State -7 273
t6. UCLA -5 275
t6. Florida -5 275
t6. No. 17 South Carolina -5 275
t6. Purdue -5 275
10. Kent State -4 276
11. Colorado State -1 279
12. Northern Colorado +3 283
13. Iona College +10 290
14. Wright State +22 302
t1. Chandler Phillips (A&M) -6 64
t1. Garett Reband (OU) -6 64
t1. Carson Lundell (BYU) -6 64
t4. Donnie Trosper (MSU) -5 65
t4. Timmy Hildebrand (Pur.) -5 65
t4. Zach Smith (UCSB) -5 65
t7. Coby Welch (NC) -4 66
t7. Connor Howe (GT) -4 66