College Grove Regional: Top-ranked Vanderbilt, co-leader Patrick Martin in control early

2016 - Vanderbilt head coach Scott Limbaugh, left, talks with Patrick Martin at No. 9 during the Suntrust Gator Invitational at Mark Bostick Golf Course in Gainesville, Fla. Tracy Wilcox/Golfweek

College Grove Regional: Top-ranked Vanderbilt, co-leader Patrick Martin in control early

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College Grove Regional: Top-ranked Vanderbilt, co-leader Patrick Martin in control early

Leaderboard

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TOP TEAM: Vanderbilt (9-under 279)

TOP INDIVIDUALS: Patrick Martin, Vanderbilt and Bryson Nimmer, Clemson (6-under 66)

IN POSITION: UCF (285), Troy (286), Kennesaw State (287), Clemson (288)

CHASING: Middle Tennessee State (289), Georgia (294), TCU (295), East Tennessee State (295), Lipscomb (295)

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AS PREDICTED: Top-ranked Vanderbilt jumped out to a six-stroke lead in College Grove, Tenn., thanks in large part to Patrick Martin’s 6-under 66. The sophomore birdied his last seven holes on the back nine to share the individual lead with Clemson’s Bryson Nimmer.

Junior Theo Humphrey added a 69 while John Augenstein posted 71. Senior Matthias Schwab, one of the country’s most consistent players, shot 73.

Vanderbilt has finished in the top four all but once this season. The Commodores now have 39 rounds in the 60s this year in a schedule that included visits to tracks such as Pebble Beach Golf Links, Colonial Country Club, Isleworth Country Club and East Lake Golf Club.

The Commodores, two-time winners this season, have advanced to the NCAA Championship the past three seasons under the direction of Scott Limbaugh, now in his fifth year as head coach.

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GOLDEN START: UCF head coach Bryce Wallor considers his Golden Knights to be a young team. Two-time winners this season, UCF opened strong with a 5-under 67 from Manuel Elvira and a pair of 70s from Kyler Tate and Bobby Bai. Tate was one of three players who locked up his spot in the regional lineup through a three-day qualifier in Orlando, Fla.

The eighth-seeded Knights even had to count a 78 in their team total. UCF could only muster a fourth at the American Championship, but the Knights did win the Augusta Invitational last month. The No. 8 seed is well in position to advance with 36 holes to play.

• • •

SHORT SHOTS: The No. 2 seed is already in deep trouble. Texas Tech fired an 11-over 299, a score that didn’t beat a single team on Monday. The Red Raiders are tied for 12th (a.k.a. last) with Harvard through 18 holes. With No. 3 seed Clemson holding the fifth and final qualifying spot at the moment at even par, Texas Tech is already 11 back of the cut with 36 holes to play. … 11th-seeded Troy sits in solo third at 2 under thanks to a strong opening round. The Trojans can thank Cam Norman for the help as he’s tied for third at 5 under after an eight-birdie round. … Seventh-seeded Kennesaw State is also in position in solo fourth at 1 under. Meanwhile, fourth-seeded Georgia (seventh, 6 over) and fifth-seeded Missouri (11th, 8 over) are outside the cut for now. … Individual co-leader Bryson Nimmer was actually 2 over through four before birdieing four of his next five holes. IN all, he was 8 under over his last 14 to shoot 66.

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