LAS VEGAS - Playing through windy and stormy conditions Friday the Texas A&M men's golf team ended the first round of the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters in a tie for sixth place.
"Overall, I thought it was a pretty successful day," Texas A&M head coach J.T. Higgins said. "We did some things really well and I'm proud of how prepared we were for the weather this time. I think we handled it as well as any team out there and that was really good to see. You could see it coming and our guys did a great job of grinding and playing hard through it."
Aggie sophomore Ty Dunlap, looking to repeat last year's success when he claimed runner-up honors at the event, finished the first round with a score of 71 (-1) to place him in a tie for seventh. Fellow sophomore Greg Yates followed closely behind, tying for 12th with a score of even-par for the day.
Seniors Cameron Peck and Drew Evans shot two and three-over par, respectively, while freshman Ben Crancer rounded out the A&M contingency with a score of 77 (+5). Junior Johannes Veerman, who is in Las Vegas competing as an individual, finished the day with a score of 74 (+2).
"I'm proud of Ben, Johannes and Drew because this is the first time they've seen the golf course out there," Higgins added. "It's a tough place to play and I thought they handled themselves really well and gained some confidence out here today. Obviously, Ty played fantastic as well. This course sets up really well for him, he likes it and is confident here. It's good to see him post another good round."
As a team, the Aggies ended the first round tied alongside fellow SEC representative Florida with a score of 292 (+4). Top-ranked California leads the tournament with a score of 285 (-3), while Stanford (-2), Alabama (+1), UCLA (+3) and New Mexico (+3) follow consecutively. USC finished eighth, with Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State, Duke, Oklahoma, UNLV, Georgia and Texas bringing up the rear.
"We played the par-5's horrible today," Higgins said. "I think we were 6-over as a team, but we're only seven shots off the lead. That's usually a strength of our team and we've got to get back to playing those better. We didn't finish great today. They are tough finishing holes here, but we can't let ourselves off the hook that easily. We've got to finish strong if we want to compete in this field. Those are things we're going to try to get better at during the next couple days, but I like where we're at. We're in a great position with a chance to have a really nice tournament."
The second round of the event begins Saturday morning at 10 a.m. (CT). The Aggies are paired with Georgia Tech and USC and will tee off from the first hole. Live scoring for the event can be found at GolfStat.com.