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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Perhaps fittingly, it was the team with the nickname that includes the word “Sun,” that was most successful battling the elements during Friday’s first two rounds of the 59th annual William H. Tucker Intercollegiate.
But a University of New Mexico freshman served notice that he‘s going to be a force to be reckoned with.
The Sun Devils finished the first a gutsy, cooler two rounds at 5-under 572 (284-287) to take an 11-stroke lead over the host and defending champion Lobos (290-292=582, 6 over) heading into today final 18 holes at the UNM Championship Course.
Brigham Young is third among the 17 teams in the field at 15-over 591 (295-296), followed by UNLV (285-308=593) and USC (291-302=593) in a tie for fourth place.
Arizona State sophomore John Rahm (68-72=140) and TCU junior Julien Brun (69-71) share the individual lead at 4 under par. Lobos true freshman Andrej Bevins was among the leaders for most of the 36 holes and finished in third place at 2-under 142 (67-75).
“Our guys did a great job under the conditions,” Lobos coach Glen Millican said. “I’ve never seen a full day like that with the wind at the Tucker, and I’ve seen 21 of them. Arizona State, those guys played awesome. If they play like that again (Saturday), they’re going to be pretty hard to beat.
“Andrej doesn’t know how good his first round was, considering the weather. I know he’s a little disappointed that he came in with a couple of bogeys, but he had a really good day and showed what a good player he is.”
Brun was the No. 3-ranked player in GolfDigest.com’s 2013-14 preseason individual poll. Rahm gained national attention as a freshman last year with his opening-round, 9-under 61 at the 2013 NCAA Championship.
Rahm finished tied for second in the championship tournament at 6-under and entered this season as the No. 9 preseason player in GolfDigest.com’s poll.
Bevins, who has two collegiate tournaments under his belt, was the No. 7 high school player entering the 2012-13 season, according to golfweek.com.
Junior Lobo and defending individual champion Gavin Green is tied for fourth at 1-under 143 (73-70). Junior Victor Perez (76-74=151) and sophomore Dylan Healey (77-73=150) are tied for 29th at 6 over, and junior Sam Saunders (74-79=153) is tied for 408th at 9 over.
“Gavin played really well; he just couldn’t get his putter going as well as he would’ve liked,” Millican said. “He still shot two solid rounds of golf
Junior Sean Romero, who is competing as an individual, is tied for 17th at 4-over 148 (75-73). Sophomore Joe Abella (76-77=153), redshirt freshman Mitch Johnson (74-79=153) and senior Camren Bergmen (74-79=153) are tied for 40th. Junior Collin Ward (70-84=154) is tied for 50th at 10 over.
“We had 10 guys who played today, and all of them had their moments on the course,” Millican said. “No one played perfect, but they all did some things that they can build on.”
Saturday’s final round begins at 7:45 a.m. with a shotgun start.