Austin Regional: Host Texas, Scottie Scheffler jump out to early leads

Scottie Scheffler Texas Tracy Wilcox/Golfweek

Austin Regional: Host Texas, Scottie Scheffler jump out to early leads

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Austin Regional: Host Texas, Scottie Scheffler jump out to early leads

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TOP TEAM: Texas (7-under 277)

TOP INDIVIDUAL: Scottie Scheffler, Texas (5-under 66)

IN POSITION: Ole Miss (282), Oklahoma State (287), Iowa State (290), Arizona State (290), North Carolina State (290)

CHASING: College of Charleston (291), Liberty (294), Wake Forest (294), Georgia Southern (295), Kansas (296)

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TEXAS ON TOP: The Longhorns are on fire and aren’t slowing down. Fresh off a fifth straight Big 12 title, Texas opens up an early five-shot lead at the NCAA Austin Regional. And the Longhorns boast the individual lead, too, as Scottie Scheffler, a junior, moves two ahead with a smooth 5-under 66. Texas may be the No. 3 seed, but the team is also serving as the host this week at the University of Texas Golf Club. Scheffler has been on fire of late, posting a runner-up finish at the UT Longhorn Shootout before a T-2 at the Big 12 Championship. The junior has three college wins, but none in a full-field multi-round stroke-play event since the 2015 Big 12 Championship. The Longhorns, last year’s runners-up at the NCAA Championship, have won three times this season. Three Texas players are in the top six through Round 1. Doug Ghim (T-2, 3 under) and Gavin Hall (T-6, 2 under) join that group along with Scheffler. Steven Chervony and Spencer Soosman are both T-34 at 3 over. The Longhorns won their regional in 2015 and 2016.

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WAKE FOREST WELL BEHIND: The No. 2 seed in the region needs not panic, but this is not exactly a promising start. Wake Forest opens in 10-over 294 to find itself tied for eighth after 18 holes. As it stands, the Demon Deacons would be four shots out of a three-for-two playoff for the final NCAA Championship spot from this regional. Of course, let’s not get too far ahead. There are still two rounds to go, more than enough time to make up four shots in five-count-four. The Demon Deacons finished third at the ACC Championship and have won three times in 2016-17. The team is led by Will Zalatoris, the ACC Player of the Year and Golfweek’s No. 4. Zalatoris is tied for sixth at 2 under and the only Demon Deacons player in the top 30 after 18 holes. Zalatoris will need to keep his play up and see more contributions from his teammates for the Demon Deacons to not see an exit before the NCAA Championship.

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SHORT SHOTS: Ole Miss has two players tied for second at 3 under. Those would be Braden Thornberry and Ben Wolcott. The fourth-seeded Rebels are solo second at 2 under. … Oklahoma State, the top seed, doesn’t have any players ranked in the top 25 in the country but boasts six in the top 80. It’s fitting to the Cowboys’ depth then that no Oklahoma State player is better than T-10 but none are worse than T-32 through Round 1. The Cowboys are sitting third at 3 over. … The lowest seed currently in position to advance from this region is No. 9 Iowa State. With five spots up for grabs, the Cyclones are in a tie for fourth at 6 over with No. 5 Arizona State and No. 6 North Carolina State. … College of Charleston, though, is not far off. The No. 11 seed is solo seventh but 7 over, just one shot back of that tie for fourth.

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