Amer Ari Invitational: North Carolina leads Arizona State by three after round one
08 Feb 2024
by Justin Golba of

see also: View results for , Mauna Lani Resort Golf Course - North Course, Preston Stout Rankings

Preston Stout (USGA Photo)
Preston Stout (USGA Photo)

Star freshman Preston Stout of Oklahoma State has wasted no time in making his presence known in collegiate golf, shooting a 10-under 62 in the first round of the Amer Ari Invitational at Mauna Lani Resort Golf Course, the North Course, in Kamuela, HI.

Stout recorded eight birdies and an eagle during the bogey-free round and matched the school's 18-hole scoring mark. Stout started his round on No. 2 and carded a birdie before posting four consecutive pars. He birdied No. 7 and added pars at Holes No. 8 and 9 before recording an eagle on the par-5 No. 10. He followed with a par at No. 11 before reeling off six consecutive birdies on Holes No. 12 through 17. He closed the back nine with a par for an incredible 8-under 28.

The round put Stout in impressive company, joining Eugenio Chacarra, Jordan Niebrugge, Morgan Hoffmann, Jonathan Moore, and Hunter Mahan as Cowboys to card rounds of 62.

Stout was not the only freshman to go low, as Arizona State freshman Wenyi Ding recorded a first-round 9-under 63 to sit one back of the lead. 

The bogey-free round of 63 comes in just his fourth collegiate round, as the 2022 US Junior Amateur champion joined the team after the 2023 fall semester and earned Pac-12 Golfer of the Week after one event. 

Matthew Comegys of Texas Tech is T2 with Ding at 9-under and one shot behind Stout. 2023 Walker Cupper David Ford of North Carolina is in solo fourth place at 8-under after recording six birdies and an eagle. His brother Maxwell Ford of North Carolina is T5 at 7-under with Tyler Weaver of Florida State and Dylan Menante of North Carolina. 

The Ford brothers and Menante are leading The North Carolina Tar Heels to the team lead by three shots over Arizona State. The Tarheels shot a 26-under 262 team score in the first round, while Arizona State shot a 23-under 265 team score. 

Texas Tech is in solo third place at 21-under. Oklahoma State is in solo fourth place at 18-under, and Auburn is in solo fifth place at 16-under heading into the second round.

Winds gusting in excess of 40 miles per hour forced the cancellation of the 32nd playing of the Invitational last year, which featured five of the top 10 teams in the nation.

1ChinaWenyi DingChina80063-64-62=189
T2PhilippinesCarl CorpusPhilippines50067-67-64=198
T2GermanyFinn KoelleGermany50066-64-68=198
T4GADavid FordPeachtree Corners, GA40064-68-67=199
T4TXMatthew ComegysPlano, TX40063-68-68=199

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The Amer Ari Intercollegiate -- hosted by the University of Hawaii-Hilo -- has brought some of the best golfers in the nation to the west side of the Big Island annually since its inception in 1992. From Tiger Woods to Jordan Spieth to Matt Kuchar, the Amer Ari Intercollegiate has hosted a myriad of players through the years who have gone on to professional stardom.

The event was originally played at Hapuna Golf Course at Mauna Kea Resort before moving to the Waikoloa Beach Resort. The Amer Ari returned to Hapuna during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2024, the event was moved to Mauna Lani. The Amer Ari is a 54-hole collegiate men's event with individual and team competitions.

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