MILTON, Ga. - Washington opened with a 1-over 281 in the first round of the NCAA Championship on Crabapple Course at Capital City Club Tuesday and are tied for ninth with two more rounds of stroke play left.
Arizona State took advantage of ideal morning conditions and shot a 10-under 270 to grab the first round lead. The Sun Devils were led by Jon Rahm, who shot a NCAA Championship record 61.
Host Georgia Tech is second at -6, followed by Alabama (-5), Illinois (-4) and California (-3). Oklahoma is sixth at -2, while Texas and Oklahoma State are tied for 7th at -1.
After 54-holes of play conclude on Thursday, the top-eight teams advance to match play. The Huskies have never missed match play in three championships since the format was introduced in 2009.
The Huskies were part of the afternoon wave on Tuesday that featured the top-seeds from the 30-team field. UW started its day on the easier front nine of the 7,320-yard, par-70 course and was rewarded with a combined counting score of 5-under as they made the turn.
Trevor<!> Simsby made three-straight birdies early in his round.
But, the back nine proved to be trickier. With hardening greens that baked in the 85 degree weather and fewer birdie-friendly holes, the team combined to shoot 6-over par.
Still, Coach Matt Thurmond was pleased with his team's effort on the day.
"I thought it was a pretty cool round," he said. "We knew coming in that the course would require a lot of patience. There are not a lot of easy birdies; pars are good. We knew the backside is tough and the finishing holes are tough, so we kind of played just how we thought we would."
Charlie Hughes, who shot a non-counting 3-over 73, was the only Husky to record a birdie on the back nine.
"We didn't play great, but we fought really hard," the Huskies' 12th-year coach continued. "We had essentially one birdie in the last three hours and that's hard to deal with as a golfer.
"For us to shoot 1-over with that few birdies is awesome."
Junior Trevor Simsby, who was named to the PING All-West team today along with teammates Chris Williams and Cheng-Tsung Pan, led Washington with four birdies - one less than the combined total of the rest of the team. All four birdies came during the first five holes, including three-straight on holes three through five.
"I started off great," said Simsby, who ended up with a team-best 2-under 68. "I hit the ball good all day and overall I'm pretty happy with my round."
Simsby's lone mistakes came on No. 8 when he three-putted and No. 12 where he lost a ball, but avoided a double-bogey by draining a 30-foot long bogey putt.
One stroke back of Simsby and sitting tied for 20th is freshman Jonathan Sanders. The NCAA Championship rookie jump started his round with a birdie and did not look back the rest of the day. He would add another birdie on the 523-yard par-4 ninth hole - which normally plays as a par 5 for members, before suffering his lone misstep, a bogey on the 10th hole.
"I struggled a little bit on the back," Sanders said following his 69. "The finishing holes are really tough, but I was able to grind it out and make some pars.
"I was pretty happy with how it went today."
The Huskies two big Dawgs -- Hogan Award winner Williams and first team All-Pac-12 performer Pan -- both shot 2-over 72. They are bunched with a group that is tied for 66th.
Williams' round included 17 pars and a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 16th hole. Pan had two birdies on the front nine to negate two early bogeys, but carded two more bogeys on the back.
Hughes' round of 73 included four bogeys and the lone birdie on the back nine by the Huskies. He is tied for 95th in the 156-player field.
Thurmond pointed out that today's round confirmed his team's strong depth. With its three most experienced players struggling, UW remains right up near the top of the leaderboard.
"You've got a chance if you have five guys that can carry you, which we do," he said. "For Trevor and Jonathan, our three and four guys, to shoot under par is awesome."
The Huskies have a quick turnaround on Wednesday. They will be back on the course bright and early, and once again paired with Texas and New Mexico. This time, they will tee it up first on the tougher back stretch.
"I don't think anyone is excited to get up in the morning," Thurmond said of his team's 7:20 a.m. ET first tee time. "But it will be nice to play that back nine first and hit the front nine with a little warm up."
Team Leader Board
Course:Capital City Club: Crabapple Course Par 70 - 7319 yards