WAIKOLA, HI (February 2, 2017) -- On the strength of an 18-under-par first round at The Amer Ari Invitational No. 17 Texas Tech has taken the opening day lead. When the second round begins on Friday at Waikoloa Kings' Course the Red Raiders will lead by three-strokes over No. 7 USC.
Texas Tech was led on day one by senior Federico Zucchetti and junior Fredrik Nilehn, both of whom shot 6-under 66's to share fourth place.
Nilehn teed off on the 7th hole and he was 1-over for his round before catching fire during the second half of his day. The turnaround began with birdies on Nos. 13-15 and then continued with a 2nd hole birdie, an eagle on the par-5 4th before concluding with a birdie one hole later.
Nilehn is currently playing his first season with the Red Raiders after transferring from Kennesaw State following his sophomore year. While at Kennesaw State, Nilehn was twice an Atlantic Sun Second Team All-Conference player. Nilehn started his Texas Tech career with a bang last fall by winning medalist honors at the Carmel Cup.
Zucchetti reached 6-under with a flawless six birdie round. After starting on No. 9 the birdies for Zucchetti came on the 10th, 15th, 17th, 18th, 2nd and 4th holes.
Texas Tech also received a strong first round showing from senior Hannes Ronneblad in the form of a 4-under 68 that left him in a tie for 8th.
The medalist race is being paced by Arizona State senior Jared du Toit and USC freshman Kyle Suppa. Each player reached 8-under with impressive 64's and they hold a one-stroke lead over Stefano Mazzoli of TCU.
Teeing off of on No. 7, Du Toit moved to the top of the leaderboard with a bogey-free round of golf that included six birdies in a row from Nos. 17-4.
For Suppa it was an eight birdie, two bogey and one eagle round of golf. Suppa carded the eagle five holes into his round, on the par-5 18th and it was part of his 5-under in five hole start. During the round Suppa got as low as 9-under before two bogeys late.
Other notable first day performances include Stanford's Maverick McNealy shooting a 4-under 68 and Wyndham Clark of Oregon carding a 2-under 70.
Second place USC is 15-under, No. 6 Stanford is in third at 10-under while Colorado and TCU are 7-under and in fifth.
The highest ranked team of the seven Bushnell Golfweek Coaches Poll top-25 teams in the field is No. 4 Oklahoma State and they have some work to do after a first round 2-under tally that left them in a tie for ninth.