It felt like college again Thursday for former UNLV teammates Charley Hoffman, Bill Lunde and Chad Campbell.
The three played in the same group for the first round of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open at TPC Summerlin. The last time they played a round together was in 1996 with the Rebels.
Hoffman enjoyed the best day of the three, starting his round at 3 under par after four holes and finishing with a 5-under 66. Campbell shot 71 and Lunde 74.
“It’s nice to play with guys you know and you’re friendly with,” Hoffman said. “But it’s all business for me when I’m out there. I’m trying to make birdies and beat the golf course.
“It was fun, but it would have been nice to see Bill and Chad play well. Hopefully, they’ll get it going.”
Said Campbell: “It was like qualifying in college playing with them. But I didn’t play great. It was tough all day.”
Added Lunde: “We’re talking and texting to each other all the time, so it’s not like we never see each other. But, yeah, it was good playing with those guys. I just didn’t play good.”
UNLV golf coach Dwaine Knight, who coached the three, walked the course with them Thursday and said it was emotional to see them together again.
“I thought about the success Charley and Bill had in winning a national title for us and how Chad came so close, and how nice it was after all these years to see them playing a round together,” Knight said.
Hoffman, Campbell and Lunde will play together again today, teeing off at 7:14 a.m. from the No. 10 tee.
■ MORE REBELS — Former UNLV star Derek Ernst shot a 4-under 67 and is seven strokes off the lead. Ernst, who had a bogey-free round while playing alongside first-round leader J.J. Henry, shot 2 under on both the front and back nine.
Former Rebel Kevin Penner, playing in the Shriners Open for the first time, shot 71. Another former Rebel, Andres Gonzales, shot 73.
■ LOCALS STRUGGLE — It was a bad day for Las Vegas residents. Kevin Na, the 2011 champion, had three bogeys to go with three birdies and finished at par 71. Scott Piercy opened with back-to-back bogeys and shot 72. Nick Watney had four bogeys on the back nine and shot 73.
■ MATSUYAMA WITHDRAWS — Japanese standout Hideki Matsuyama, expected to contend for the title, withdrew from the tournament minutes before he was to tee off because of a stomach ailment.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at email@example.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.