Jaguars 'in fine' position at NCAA Championship

Augusta State in ninth after typical slow start

STILLWATER, Okla. - Everyone Patrick Reed talks to tells him the same thing: Stay patient.


Reed stayed steady all day, opening with 3-under-par 69 to help lead Augusta State in the first round of the NCAA Division I Golf Championship at Karsten Creek.

"That's what you've got to do out here," Reed said about being patient. "It's going to be a long week."

Reed is attempting to close his college career with back-to-back wins. He is tied for third place, two shots behind Georgia Tech's James White. Texas A&M's Cameron Peck stands in second after shooting 68.

With Reed's effort, the Jaguars are in ninth place and looking to make their move up the leaderboard. The top eight teams at the conclusion of the 54-hole medal play event advance to match play, which begins Friday.

In warm, calm conditions Tuesday, Augusta State opened with 6-over-par 294. Mitch Krywulycz birdied the last for 71, while Carter Newman closed with birdie-par for 74. Henrik Norlander added 80, while Olle Bengtsson recorded a non-counting 86.

The Jaguars are 11 shots behind leader Georgia Tech. UCLA is in second at 286, while Alabama is third (288). Georgia is tied for fifth at 291, while the Peach State's other team, Kennesaw State, shot 295 and is tied for 10th.

Oklahoma State, the tournament's host, opened with 292. The Cowboys, who have won eight events this season, are the prohibitive favorite to win again this week.

The Jaguars are looking to repeat its performance from September, when they improved by 16 shots in the second round of the PING/Golfweek Preview at Karsten Creek.

"We're in fine position," Reed said. "We always struggle in the first round. People keep on asking why. I have no clue."

Reed is coming off a tie for first two weeks at the Southeast Regional. At Karsten Creek, he added his third consecutive round in the 60s thanks to six birdies, which offset a bogey and double bogey.

Reed stood at 3-under when he faced a six-foot par attempt at No. 7. He lipped out the putt. Then, he rushed his one-foot bogey putt leaving himself an eight-foot comebacker, which he drained for double.

After turning at 1-under, Reed hit pitching wedge to six feet for birdie at No. 10. He followed with a 9-iron to four feet for birdie at No. 11. But a missed 18-inch putt at No. 12 and a short lip-out for birdie at No. 18 slightly marred his round.

"Even with two careless mistakes with the putter, a lip-out at the last and two poor wedges, I'm still able to shoot 69," Reed said. "So my game's improving and going in the right direction."

Two-time All-American Henrik Norlander carded his worst round of the past two years -- just his third round in the 80s as a collegian. He shot 2-over on the par-5 holes and closed with four bogeys on the final five holes.

Norlander sprayed the ball off the tee at times and also found himself with difficulties putting. He lipped out a short putt at No. 8 for a bogey to kill the momentum of his birdie at the previous hole. Norlander turned at 3-over 39 and never got it going on the back nine.

"Every now and then you play badly, and he did today," Augusta State coach Josh Gregory said. "But there's no doubt in my mind he'll be there for us the next two days and hopefully for three days of match play."

Krywulycz posted his lowest round in three NCAA Championship appearances by shooting 1-under on the par-5 holes. He also hit 13 of 14 fairways en route to 13 pars.

"You have to do that out here. You have to hit a ton of fairways," Krywulycz said. "You don't have a choice."

Newman hit all 14 fairways, but he struggled with his iron play. He opened with bogey at the par-5 first and entered the par-4 17th at 3-over. There, he recorded his first birdie of the day.

Unlike his four teammates, who played in the Preview, Bengtsson saw Karsten Creek for the first time Monday. During the practice round, windy conditions made the course play different. Playing in his first NCAA Championship, Bengtsson also battled a case of the nerves. His quadruple-bogey 8 at No. 4 got him off track for the day.

"He had to play a practice round in 40 mph winds. It was almost like he was playing it blind," Krywulycz said. "Now that he has a round under his belt, I think that'll help him."

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