TUCSON, Ariz. (May 19, 2011) -- Eighth-ranked and second-seeded San Diego State finds itself in first place after 18 holes at the NCAA Arizona Regional. The Aztecs shot a 6-under 278 at the par-71, 7,199-yard OMNI Tucson National Golf Resort and own a one-stroke lead over second-place Washington (279, -5).
"Overall it was a solid first round," SDSU head coach Ryan Donovan said. "We were patient, and that is our strategy, and I'm proud of our guys. It's nice to be back here. We won the conference here a couple weeks ago, so the guys know what to expect."
Redshirt junior Colin Featherstone and junior Alex Kang led the way for SDSU as both registered identical 3-under 68 scores, which put them in a tie for sixth place. Featherstone shot an even 35 on the front nine, but closed his day with three birdies on the back nine to seal his 3-under performance. Kang, meanwhile, totaled five birdies, including three over the final seven holes, and two bogeys to put him even with Featherstone at 3-under.
"It was a good round," Featherstone said."I had some good putts, got up and down when I needed, and was just comfortable. It's given me confidence going into the next round. The team is doing well, and hopefully that confidence will keep up for the next two days."
Senior Johan Carlsson and freshman Todd Baek enjoyed even-par rounds, but their performances were worlds apart. After seven holes, Carlsson found himself at 2-over, but answered with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 9 and 10 to get to even-par. The senior then went on to play even-par golf the rest of the way to finish with a 71. Baek, meanwhile, was 2-under after nine holes and 3-under after 10, but encountered a run of bad luck. The freshman bogeyed Nos. 12, 13 and 15, but responded with a birdie on 16. A par on No. 17 kept Baek at 1-under, but a bogey on the final hole dropped him to even and into a tie for 18th place.
Junior J.J. Spaun turned in a scorecard that read 74 (+3) at the end of the day. Spaun made the turn at 2-over after posting three bogeys and a birdie. The San Dimas, Calif., native, however, settled down on the back nine, and birdied No. 10, but bogeys on Nos. 16 and 18 capped his day at 3-over (T-49th).
Trailing SDSU (-6) and Washington (-5) and rounding out the top five is Liberty at 4-under and both Arizona (-3) and Texas A&M (-3). The seventh-ranked Aggies are the top-seeded team.
Individually, Matt Hansen of UC Davis leads the 75-person field after turning in a 7-under 64. Oregon State's Alex Moore (-5) is in second place and is followed by Preston Dembowiak (Liberty), Nils Floren (Texas Tech) and Tarquin MacManus (Arizona), who all shot 4-under (67). Just outside the top 10 and four shots off the pace are Featherstone, Kang and Washington's Kevin Spooner.