Norman Regional: Blaine Hale, Oklahoma grab early leads

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Norman Regional: Blaine Hale, Oklahoma grab early leads

College

Norman Regional: Blaine Hale, Oklahoma grab early leads

Here is a recap of the first round of the NCAA Division I men’s golf regional at Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club in Norman, Okla.:

LIVE SCORING: Team | Individual
TEAM LEADER: Oklahoma (5-under 283)
INDIVIDUAL LEADER: Blaine Hale, Oklahoma (5-under 67)
IN POSITION: T-2. Auburn (288), T-2. Arkansas (288), T-2. North Florida (288), 5. San Diego State (290)
CHASING: T-6. Florida State (293), T-6. Missouri-Kansas City (293), 8. Nevada (294), T-9. Pepperdine (295), T-9. BYU (295)

• • •

Getting out in front early

Last spring at Rich Harvest Farms, Oklahoma junior Blaine Hale went out in the first match in each round of the NCAA Championship, winning his final two, including his final matchup against Oregon’s Norman Xiong.

“There is just something about it that I like getting out there early,” Hale said. “I have a fresh golf course and no one in front of me. That’s why I like it. I don’t know I don’t have to wait on anyone.”

For that reason, Sooners coach Ryan Hybl called Hale last Thursday night and told the junior that he was putting him in the No. 5 spot for this week’s regional. Hale responded with an opening 5-under 67 to take the individual lead.

The host Sooners, the defending NCAA team champions, also took the lead with a 5-under opening round. Three players from last year’s postseason squad are in the lineup this week. The two that were not, Quade Cummins and Garett Reband, shot 69 and 72, respectively, to count for the Sooners on Monday.

“It’s nice to be leading,” Hybl said. “We’re on our home golf course and there’s a lot of comfort out here for us. Hopefully we can keep on moving down that same path and have a really solid round tomorrow.”

• • •

SHORT SHOTS: Auburn, the SEC champions this season, got 2-under 70s from Ben Schlottman and Trace Crowe and is tied for second at even par with Arkansas and North Florida. All three teams are top-5 seeds. … Ninth-seeded San Diego State holds the fifth spot at 2 over behind Blake Abercrombie (70) and P.J. Samiere (71). … Missouri-Kansas City, playing in just its fourth regional since 2011, is tied for sixth as it vies for its first NCAA Championship berth.

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