LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Mar. 10) — With four players shooting sub-par rounds, including three in the 60s, top-ranked Georgia Tech took the first round lead by four shots over Texas Friday at the Las Vegas Intercollegiate men’s golf tournament at the Desert Inn & Country Club.
The Yellow Jackets, currently No. 1 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings, fired a 14-under-par 274, led by redshirt freshman Troy Matteson (Austin, Texas) 5-under 67. Tech also counted a 68 by junior Bryce Molder (Conway, Ark.), whose round included a triple-bogey 7 on the 18th hole (his 9th of the day), a 69 by senior Carlton Forrester (Gainesville, Ga.), and a 70 by senior Matt Kuchar (Lake Mary, Fla.).
“We hit the ball pretty good and made a lot of putts and when you do that you usually score well,” said Georgia Tech coach Bruce Heppler. “We got off to a fast start, stalled a little in the middle and came back fairly strong toward the end.”
On Tech’s first hole — the par-5 10th — it posted three birdies and two eagles and then added two more birdies on the second. After three holes, Tech was 8-under par.
“We’re playing with a lot of confidence right now,” said Heppler, whose Yellow Jackets won last month at the Taylor Made/Waikoloa Intercollegiate in Hawaii and earlier this month at the San Juan Collegiate Shootout in Puerto Rico. “These guys are really starting to feel they are a very good team.”
Texas was next in the 15-team field after a 10-under 278, followed by Oklahoma State at 281. Minnesota was at 283 with Arizona State two more behind at 285 and Florida at even-par 288.
Individually, Matteson shared the early lead with Texas’ Matt Brost. Their 67s were one stroke better than Molder, Paul Casey of Arizona State, Jonathan Byrd of Clemson and 1998 NCAA champion James McLean of Minnesota. Five players were at 69, including reigning U.S. Amateur champion David Gossett of Texas.
“I’m not sure what it was. I guess it was a little bit of everything, especially my putting,” said Matteson of his best single round at Georgia Tech. “I made a lot of putts and even missed a couple 6-footers for birdies.”
Matteson came out strong with birdies on Nos. 10 and 11, his first two holes, sinking a 45-footer on the latter. He added birdies on Nos. 13, 15, 17 and 18 to make the turn in 6-under 30. A bogey at the second hole, a birdie on No. 5 and a bogey on No. 7 completed his round.
The second round of the tournament will be played Saturday with the final round set for Sunday.