Team leader: Cal (23-under 265)
Individual leader: Sam Smith, USC (10-under 62)
In position: 2. St. Mary’s (267), 3. San Diego State (270), 4. USC (272), 5. Pacific (274)
Chasing: T6. TCU (276), T6. Memphis (276)
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Cal goes low
The leader in Pullman, Wash., is no surprise. No. 1 Cal is ahead after a school-record, 23-under 265 that was led by 7-under 65s from U.S. Amateur runner-up Michael Weaver and Joel Stalter, who is playing this tournament in the No. 5 spot in the lineup. Brandon Hagy added a 66, while Michael Kim, the No. 1 player in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, is T-25 after shooting 3-under 69. Kim has finished no worse than 11th this year. Max Homa, coming off a victory at the Pac-12 Championship, shot 70, but did not count as one of the team’s four scores.
Cal’s round set the school record for lowest 18-hole team score and lowest team round in relation to par. “Any time you set a school record, it feels pretty good,” head coach Steve Desimone said. “I guess it should be no surprise it was this team that did it.”
Both Weaver and Kim made eagles Thursday. Weaver hit 3-wood to 4 feet on the drivable, par-4 15th hole. Kim hit 3-wood to 30 feet on the par-5 17th, then drained the eagle putt. Kim was 1 over with three holes remaining in Thursday’s round but finished birdie-eagle-birdie. Cal’s four scorers made just four bogeys Thursday, with Weaver going bogey-free. The Bears played the back nine in 14 under par.
Desimone said the wind is forecast to blow 10-15 mph Friday, which could send scores higher.
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Smith stars for Trojans
USC senior Sam Smith, No. 65 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, was the star Thursday after shooting a course-record 62 in the first round. Smith had eight birdies and an eagle at the par-4 15th, where he hit his tee shot inches from the hole on the drivable par 4. He played his final four holes in 5 under, following the eagle at No. 15 with three consecutive birdies. Smith has finished no worse than 17th in his past five starts.
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Sacramento State’s Jordan Weir was the low scorer among players competing as individuals, shooting 6-under 66, putting him in a tie for eighth after Round 1. UC Davis’ Tyler Raber was one shot higher, and Utah Valley State’s Mason Casper shot 68. . . . Pacific, No. 71 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, is holding down the fifth spot after shooting 14-under 274. Pacific finished the season with a 57-64-3 record, earning its postseason bid only after winning the Big West Conference Championship in a playoff with Cal State Fullerton. It was Pacific’s first Big West title since 1997. Pacific’s Eric Sugimoto, who won the conference individual title in a playoff, shot 65 Thursday, and Byron Meth shot 66.