FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The 17th-ranked Texas A&M men’s golf team holds a share of fifth place after the first round of stroke play at the NCAA Championships on Friday at The Blessings Golf Club.
The Aggies are tied with third-ranked Wake Forest at 8-over 296. Top-ranked Oklahoma State leads at 2-over 290. No. 10 Stanford is second at 291, and No. 11 Auburn and No. 12 California are tied for third at 292.
The top eight teams after three rounds of stroke play will compete in a single-elimination match play tournament beginning Tuesday with the finals on Wednesday. No. 5 Texas is eighth, two strokes behind the Aggies.
Coming off a sixth-place showing at the Pullman Regional, sophomore Walker Lee leads A&M at 1-under 71 and is tied for sixth on the individual leaderboard. California’s Collin Morikawa leads at 5-under 67.
Lee bounced back from a bogey on No. 13, his fourth hole of the day, with back-to-back birdies on the par-5 15th and par-4 16th. He then stumbled with a bogey at the turn on No. 1 but again bounced back with a birdie on No. 6.
“Walker has been amazing the whole post season; he has taken his game to another level,” A&M head coach J.T. Higgins said. “He has gotten a lot more comfortable with the college game. He played with a lot of patience, a lot of poise, and he’s an aggressive player that attacks the golf course. He’s been playing great for us.”
Freshman Sam Bennett, a Madisonville native, is tied for 21st with a 73, and junior Brandon Smith is tied for 29th at 74. Senior Chandler Phillips and junior Dan Erickson are tied for 87th with 78s.
The Aggies will tee off the second round at 12:10 p.m. Saturday.