May 31, 2000
OPELIKA, Ala. -- The Washington men's golf team opened the first round of play at the 103rd NCAA Championships by posting a 13-over-par score of 301. The Huskies found themselves in last place in the 30-team field after the opening round. Texas led the first day of play with a score of 272, a totalof 16 under par. The Longhorns were led by David Gossett who tied the course record with a 63. His score also tied the NCAA championship record for an under-par round by shooting nine-under par.
The top 15 teams will qualify for the final two rounds on Friday and Saturday. The Huskies were led by sophomore Gordy Scutt, who shot a 73 on the par 72, 7,003-yard Lake Course at Grand National. Sophomore Troy Kelly, who was the runner-up at last year's event, shot 75.
Despite the slow start, the Huskies remain optimistic. They can use last year as a rallying point. Washington opened play at the 1999 NCAA Championships by posting a 19-over score of 307. Washington went on to shoot 301, 291 and 290 to finish fourth overall. The Huskies' final three combined rounds were the best of the event.
"We have a tendency to start slow at tournaments, but today was redefining the term 'slow start," said Husky coach O.D. Vincent. "I thought we were flat today and started poorly on the first few holes. It did not look like we had a lot of energy. The course played fairly tough today, but there were some good scores out there. If we have a good day tomorrow then we have a good chance to make the cut and do what we did last year, which was slowly to climb up. It was not our plan to start this far back. We will be in the last group to go out tomorrow, so we'll know what we have to do to get back into this."
"I think I hit the ball pretty well today," said Scutt, who was one-under after his first nine holes of play. "I didn't really have an errant shot until the final hole. I hit the ball where I wanted to, I just need to knock down some putts."
Kelly started his round with back-to-back bogeys on holes 10 and 11 before a poor lie in a fairway bunker led to a seven on the par four 13th hole.
"I didn't have a solid shot on my first three holes and then I felt like I finally had a good drive," he said. "The ball was just off of the edge of the bunker and I had to get down into the bunker to hit the ball. I felt like I was swinging a baseball bat. I just fatted it into the bunker. It took me a couple of more shots and I had to come up with a great chip just to get the seven."
From that point on, Kelly settled down and went two-under for his final 14 holes.
"Overall, I was happy that I was able to come back after making that bad start," Kelly said. "I birdied three of the next four holes and then it was a bit of a roller coaster the rest of the way in. The key for me is to hit more greens. I was putting really well. I think I made everything I had inside of 10 feet. If I can get myself where I am hitting the ball better, then I think I can shoot some good scores."
Washington will tee off at 12:18 p.m. for the second round of play. The Huskies were included in the first group on Wednesday, beginning play at 7:39 a.m.