Waikoloa, Hawaii----- Posting its best first-round team score of the season, San Jose State University is tied for sixth place with a six-under par 282 at the Amer Ari Invitational.
Playing in their first tournament of the spring season, the Spartans capitalized on the team golf concept first on the par 72, 7,074-yard Waikoloa Kings' Course. San Jose State counted Kevin Velo's three-under par 69, Sean Yu's two-under par 70, Sean Talmadge's 71 and Ben Campbell's even par 72 for its 282 score. Matt Murray's five-over 77 was discarded in the 5-score-4 team scoring format.
The last time San Jose State did not count an over-par score in a first-round total was at the 2016 GolfWeek Conference Challenge when all four players were under par for a 10-under 278. In the 2017 fall season, the Spartans' best first-round team score was an even par 284 at the Alister Mackenzie Invitational in October.
In a field with seven top-20 ranked teams according to GolfStat, San Jose State is tied with #19-Southern California at 282, three strokes behind first-round leader #16-ranked Texas which posted a 279. #2-Oklahoma State is second at 280. #3-Georgia Tech, #14-Texas Tech and #40-TCU are tied for third at 281. The Spartans head into the second round ahead of #8-Auburn at 286 and #10-Stanford at even par 288.
"We didn't start out the best, but we hung in there great today. I'm very proud of them," said San José State men's golf coach John Kennaday. "There always a way. You've got to figure out the puzzle of the day and we're doing a better job of that.
"You have to figure out how play when you don't have your best. We didn't play our best, but we're getting close."
All five Spartans were over par before recording their first birdie or eagle of the round. Starting on the 13th hole, Velo was one-par after two holes before pouring in five birdies in an eight-hole stretch for his 69. Yu was one-over after seven holes, but worked his way into red figures with back-to-back eagles on the fourth and fifth holes on the course. Talmadge overcame a triple bogey-7 on the 17th hole with a birdie on #2, eagle on #4 and birdie on #12 for his one-under 71. Campbell was two-over after three holes and helped himself with the Spartans' first of three eagles on the par-5, 513-yard fourth hole.
Individually, Velo is tied for seventh. With his 70, Yu is in a logjam of 10 golfers tied for 17th. Talmadge is in a 27th place tie with his 71. Campbell is tied for 38th in the 114-player, 18-team field. Only 37 players posted an under-par score for the first 18 holes.
Georgia Tech's Tyler Strafaci holds a two-stroke lead over five players with a bogey-free opening round 66.
The Amer Ari Invitational continues with 18 holes on February 2 and concludes with a final round on Saturday, February 3.
San Jose State University men's golf
Amer Ari Invitational
Waikoloa Kings' Course, Waikoloa, Hawaii
7,074 yards, par 72
February 1, 2018 first-round results
|2. Oklahoma State
|3. Georgia Tech
|6. San Jose State
|8. UC Davis
|13. Arizona State
|14. Osaka Gakuin
|1. Tyler Strafaci, Georgia Tech
|2. Doug Ghim, Texas
|Spencer Soosman, Texas
|Donald Kay, Oregon
|Spencer Painton, Colorado
|Adam Blomme, Texas Tech
|San Jose State scores|
|7. Kevin Velo
|17. Sean Yu
|27. Sean Talmadge
|38. Ben Campbell
|96. Matthew Murray
|85. Vijay Srinivasan (ind.)||76|
|Ind. -- played as an individual|