EUGENE, Ore. – Alex Franklin fired an even-par 70 and David Fink shot a 1-over 71 in the opening round of the NCAA West Regionals on Thursday.
The three-day, 54-hole event includes 13 teams and 10 individuals competing at the par-70, 6,990-yard Eugene Country Club. The low individual, who isn’t on one of the five top teams, will advance to the NCAA Championships at the Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan., which will be held Friday, May 23 to Wednesday, May 28.
Fink and Franklin will play together in Friday’s second round and tee off at 10:23 a.m. off the 10th hole. Steven Kupcho of Northern Colorado will be the third player in the group. Admission to the tournament at the Eugene Country Club is free to the public.
Franklin put himself in position to advance to nationals as he sits only four strokes out of the lead. The lefty from San Rafael, Calif., got out of the gate with a strong start by birdying the par-4, 395-yard first hole and par-3, 228-yard second. He bogeyed the third and fifth holes but carded four straight pars to shoot an even-par 34 going out.
He also started well on the back nine with birdies on the par-4, 401-yard 10th hole and par-3, 183-yard 12th before taking bogeys on the 14th and 16th holes for an even-par 36 coming in. His first-round 70 has him in a tie for 11th place with 36 holes to play.
Fink started his round with four pars but took a bogey on the fifth and seventh holes before dropping his first birdie of the day on the par-4, 485-yard eighth. After a bogey on the par-3 12th hole, he got back-to-back birdies on the par-5, 525-yard 13th and par-4, 405-yard 14th to get back to even.
The Kailua, Hawai’i native had a double-bogey on the 15th hole but closed the round with two pars and a birdie on the par-4, 445-yard 18th to shoot a 1-over 71 for a tie for 14th place. Fink led the Beavers with 15 sub-par rounds this season and has the ability to go low with nine of those scores in the 60’s, including a career-best 6-under 66 and three 5-under 67’s.
Good start by Alex (E) & David (+1). In good position with two rounds to go. Eugene CC playing tough with greens at 12+/firm and deep rough.
Stanford (-4), Oklahoma (E), South Carolina (+6), North Florida (+6) and Oregon (+9) hold down the top five spots after the first round. There are four players ahead of Franklin on the leaderboard who aren’t on one of those five teams, led by Chris Robb of Chattanooga and Kyle Westmoreland of Air Force who each shot a 3-under 67.
Player Leader Board
* player is participating as an individual rather than as a team member.
Course:Eugene Country Club: NCAA Men's Golf West Regional Par 70 - 6990 Yards