Feb. 15, 2010
- The Auburn men's golf team (302-602) kicked off spring play Monday morning at a wintry Rice Intercollegiate, finishing the opening 36-holes of play in second place. The Tigers, currently eight strokes back of the tournament hosts, were led by sophomore Will McCurdy
(74-147) who finished the day tied for the lead with Rice's Chris Brown (73-147) and Michael Whitehead (75-147).
Auburn and Rice were able to create distance between themselves and the competition as the day wore on, with third-place Pacific (302-612) trailing the Tigers by 10 strokes. Weather was a factor all day at the par-72, 7,184-yard Westwood Golf Club, where the high reached just 52 degrees with wind gusts upwards of 31 miles per hour.
"The wind just beats you up on days like this," said Auburn head coach Nick Clinard. "The course is straight foward. Its a nice course, but it's tough. Westwood will definitely expose any weaknesses in your game, especially with conditions like we had today. We played well to open the first round but found ourselves making a few mistakes during the middle holes. It was probably the toughest stretch out here."
All Tigers completed day one in the top 20, as Auburn senior Cole Moreland (75-149) finished tied for fourth with Rice's Michael Buttacavoli (75-149), sophomore John Stembridge (76-153) tied for 12th and sophomores Kyle Kopsick (78-154) and David Zickler (77-154) tied for 20th.
McCurdy completed round one tied for second with Louisiana-Monroe's Jeremy Cross, both carding a 1-over, 73. The pair trailed Whitehead who fired the only even-par round of the event thus far.
"Will (McCurdy) played very well today," said Clinard. "He's always been a good ball striker and has learned a lot in last few months. Kyle (Kopsick) struggled a little today but overall played solid for us. All the guys had a few mistakes here and there but it's been a while and we were a little rusty out the gates."
Trailing Rice and Auburn are Pacific, Nebraska (313-621), Houston (306-621), Northern Colorado (314-621), Florida Gulf Coast (312-622), MIssouri (306-625), Kansas (307-625), New Orleans (312-626), Miami (OH) (311-628), Louisiana Tech (316-631), Houston Baptist (325-636), Louisiana-Monroe (321-638) and Hartford (352-684).
Tuesday action will commence with an 8:15 a.m. CST shotgun start. The Tigers will be paired on holes 1, 2 and 3 with Rice and Pacific. Complete tournament information can be accessed via www.RiceOwls.com.