The UNLV men’s golf team is now in catch-up mode.
The Rebels shot 22 over par in Friday’s first round of the NCAA Championship, putting them 23rd in the 30-team field at Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
The team has two days of stroke play remaining to make the top 15 for Monday’s final round of stroke play. The top eight teams qualify for match play, which begins Tuesday.
“The golf course is really tough,” UNLV coach Dwaine Knight said. “It’s very punishing, and if you miss a shot, you can be 35, 40 feet away. So you’ve got to have the patience to be able to put the ball in the right spots.
”You have to really pick your spots to attack the pins. It seems like we haven’t had a round like this in a long time. You get to where you press, and you don’t have the ability and patience to keep putting the ball in the right spots because you’re wanting to make a birdie, you’re wanting to make up some shots. It’s a course that can eat you up pretty fast if you don’t have the patience, and we didn’t show that today.”
Harry Hall had the Rebels’ low round, shooting par 72, followed by Justin Kim (76) and Jack Trent (78).
Defending champion Oklahoma State shot 2 over to take the lead, one stroke ahead of Stanford.
UNLV tees off in the afternoon Saturday, and Knight expects a firmer course with more wind, which will make achieving lower scores challenging.
“If we can post a good round, it will put us back in the mix,” Knight said. “That’s mandatory, we need to put up a good round. It doesn’t have to be a deep round, it just needs to be a real good, solid round.”