N.C. State leads NCCGA nationals by one shot

Interest in club golf is growing thanks to the NCCGA.

North Carolina State opened up a slim lead Saturday at the NCCGA Spring National Championship. The Wolfpack sits atop the 25-team field after a 20-over 380 in the play-eight-count-five format.

The National Collegiate Club Golf Association is hosting its spring national championship at Crystal Springs Resort’s Ballyowen and Wild Turkey. The 36-hole competition brings 25 of the top club golf teams in the country together to compete.

N.C. State’s Zach Cunningham led the charge with a 1-over 73 that included an eagle at the par-5 10th. Teammates Blake Collier and Chris Harmon added rounds of 75.

N.C. State club president Zac Lewis, who contributed a 78 Saturday, was proud of the way his team adjusted to the links-style golf course, especially one in a different part of the country than N.C. State players are used to.

“I think we played pretty well,” Lewis said. “Had to grind pretty hard out there, but we had some solid scores and think we kept everything in the 70s as far as our five-man score, which out here is really good. I think it went well being it the first time we saw the course.”

N.C. State leads Wisconsin by one shot and Michigan State by three. Virginia Tech is another shot back at 25-over 385, followed by Cincinnati at 26-over 386. If the Wolfpack, which earned its spot in the field via a wild-card pick, can hold on and win the title Sunday, it would be their first in program history.

“We feel a little bit of pressure; this is our fifth-straight Nationals appearance so we have been here before,” Lewis said. “We haven’t been in this situation, but last couple years we’ve been top-10, top-15.”

Wisconsin, the No. 1-ranked team entering the event, which gives the Badgers extra motivation for Sunday.

“Last semester we ended up getting 23rd at Nationals out of 25 teams or something, so I think coming into this and being No. 1, we wanted people to know that we were for real,” said club president Bobby Puchner said.

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