PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Facing one of the most challenging tournament fields it will see this season, the UT Arlington men’s golf team is in 11th place among 18 talented teams after the first round at the 12th Saint Mary’s Invitational at Poppy Hills Golf Course.
The Mavericks finished the first day of competition with a 10-over par 294 and are just one stroke behind 20th ranked Santa Clara and the University of Nevada. 46th ranked Arizona is two streaks ahead of UTA at 8-over, while 24th ranked BYU sits in 7th place at 6-over par.
A total of seven teams in the field are ranked among the top 50 in the country, according to golfstat, and all seven are among the top 10 after the first day. Unranked San Francisco leads the team competition at 3-under par, two strokes ahead of 13th ranked Stanford and 21st ranked Colorado State.
The teams return to the golf course for tomorrow’s round beginning at 9:30 a.m. (CST). UTA will start off the first tee beginning at 9:58 a.m. and is paired with golfers from UC Irvine. The Anteaters are in 12th place, just three strokes behind UTA.
The tournament’s final round will take place on Wednesday.
USC sophomore Justin Sun, who entered the tournament ranked second in the nation, is among four golfers tied for the individual lead at 4-under par 67. A total of 15 of the 100 golfers in the field posted a score under par.
UTA senior Aaron Guanlao led a balanced UTA effort in today’s first round, posting a 1-over par 72 on the beautiful 7,002 yard, par 71 Poppy Hills course. The Haslet, Texas native shot even par on the front nine with three birdies, a bogey and a double bogey before dropping to 2-over par on the back. He finished the round with a birdie on the par 5 18th hole and is tied for 26th place overall.
Freshman Paul Gonzalez (Waxahachie, Texas), junior Tanner Gore (El Paso, Texas) and senior Jake Greenspoon (Houston, Texas) each shot 3-over par 74 and are among eight golfers tied for 43rd place. Gonzalez opened his round with a pair of birdies among his first three holes, but fell back to even par with a double bogey on the par 4 fifth hole. After four bogeys dropped his score on the back nine, a birdie on No. 18 allowed Gonzalez to finish his hole on a positive note.
Like his freshman teammate, Gore started strong with a birdie on the first hole and holing out for an eagle on the 399-yard, par 4 fourth hole. He struggled to find the scoring tough after that to finish at 3-over. Greenspoon posted, possibly, the most consistent round of the day with 14 pars, one birdie and one bogey. His undoing, however, was a triple bogey on the final hole on the front before going 1-under on the back nine.
Graduate transfer Nick Thornton (Boerne, Texas) settled down on the back after an up-and-down performance through the first nine holes. He went 1-under through his final 10 holes and finished at 5-over for the round and is in a tie for 51st place.
Following the conclusion of the Saint Mary’s Invitational, UTA will be off for a little more than three months before returning to competition on Feb. 16-18 at the Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate. The Mavericks play a total of five challenging regular season spring tournaments, including ORU/SFA Spring Break Challenge in Irving, Texas, the Valspar Collegiate Championships in Palm City Fla. and the Bubba Barnett Collegiate in Jonesboro, Ark. before concluding the schedule at the Boilermaker Invitational in West Lafayette, Ind.
The annual Sun Belt Golf Championships are scheduled for April 22-24 at Raven Golf Club in Miramar Beach, Fla.
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