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San Diego St. chasing seventh win at Southwest

Team leader: San Diego State (6-under-par 278

Individual leader: Matt Hansen, UC-Davis (7-under-par 64)

In position (the next four): Washington (5-under 279); Liberty (4-under 280); Arizona and Texas A&M (3-under 281).

Chasing (still work to do): Texas Tech (1-under 283); Pepperdine and Oregon State (even-par 284).

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Why not seven?: That’s what San Diego State coach Ryan Donovan posed to his team coming into the regional as the No. 2 seed in the 14-team field.


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“I told them, we’ve won six times this season, so don’t be afraid to win seven,” he said.

So far, so good for the Aztecs, who were paced in the opening round by 3-under 68s from Alex Kang and Colin Featherstone.

“Patience is the key on this golf course, and the guys did a good job of that and staying focused all day. Overall, it was a good team effort.”

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A career performance: For the longest time, Hansen couldn’t seem to get over the 5-under par hump. He’d reach that mark in a round and then either stay stagnant or give back a shot or two.

That was not the case this time around as the Aggies freshman made eight birdies against a lone bogey for his career-low round, besting a 66 he shot last year in high school.

“I hit a lot of shots inside 10 feet and made a lot of those putts,” he said. “This golf course really fits my eye. I don’t have to hit a draw. I can hit my (natural) fade on every hole.”

Hansen’s round got a big boost when he holed out from the front bunker (10 yards) at No. 1 to get to 5 under, and chipped in from 30 yards at No. 7 to get to 7 under. He leads Alex Moore of Oregon State by two strokes.

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Short shots: After the first eight holes, Texas A&M coach J.T. Higgins said he looked on Golfstat and it showed the Aggies in last place. But the 2009 NCAA champions, and this regional’s No. 1 seed, charged back and finished at 3 under and tied for fourth. “It was ugly to start, but I’m proud of the guys the way they battled back,” Higgins said. . . . Even though it came into the regional as the No. 5 seed and No. 27 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings, there were still those surprised by Liberty’s third-place standing after the opening round. But for some, it’s no surprise at all. This season, the Flames have not finished outside the top 5 in any of their 10 tournaments and have two victories, including the Big South Conference Championship, and four second places. Preston Dembowlak shot 67 to lead Liberty’s opening-day effort. . . . For much of this season, it looked as though Arizona might not qualify for the regional it was hosting because of the .500 rule. But the Wildcats rallied late and earned the No. 9 seed. Led by a 67 from Tarquin MacManus, Arizona is in solid position to make a run. . . . Pars were pretty scarce between Texas A&M teammates Cameron Peck and Nacho Elvira, who combined for only 16 of them in the first round. Peck had seven to go with his six birdies and five bogeys while Elvira had nine along with his four birdies, four bogeys and one double bogey. . . . Hometown fans had something to cheer about during the round as two Arizona players scored eagles. Juan Pablo Hernandez drained a 25-footer for eagle on the par-5 10th hole, and Jonathan Khan holed a 150-yard pitching wedge shot at the par-4 10th.

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