Each of Utah Valley University's four scorers fired an opening round 71 on Friday at the WAC Championship, placing the Wolverines in fourth place after 18 holes at Stallion Mountain Golf Club. At a 4-under 284, UVU was one of four teams in the eight-team field to close the day below par.
Reigning WAC champion New Mexico State leads the tournament with a team score of 272 (-16) and is followed closely by Idaho's 274 (-14). Kansas City nudged past the Wolverines at 283 (-5), but UVU holds a 13-stroke advantage over fifth-place Texas-Pan American (297, +9) heading into Saturday's second round.
"We played fairly solid today," Utah Valley head coach Chris Curran said. "The difference between us and the leaders is that they had one or two players take it deep. Conditions are expected to be tough tomorrow and we've got some ground to make up, but it's doable."
Seattle U is in sixth place after a 10-over 298, followed by Chicago State at 302 (+14). Bakersfield rounds out the field in eighth place after posting a team score of 307 (+19).
Of the eight-player pileup in 11th place, half those spots belong to UVU golfers as Michael Dart, Brayden Eriksen, Preston Richards and JT Timmons all carded a 71 (-1) on Friday. Clark Fredrickson, the fifth member of UVU's WAC Championship squad, is alone in 26th after shooting 73 (+1).
NM State's Kenneth Fadke leads the tournament after a first-round 64 (-8) and is one of three Aggies currently sitting inside the top 10. Idaho also has three players in the top 10 on the leaderboard, led by Aaron Cockerill's 6-under 66, which is good for second after day one.
Dart led the Wolverines with four birdies on the day, making the turn at 2-under before a pair of back nine bogeys and another birdie ended his day at 1-under-par. Eriksen and Richards each birdied three times, with the latter also notching an eagle on the par-five 13th. It was the second eagle of the round for UVU, as Timmons had eagled on the par 5 sixth earlier in the day. Fredrickson carded a pair of bogeys to go along with his round's lone birdie on hole nine.
First off the tee Friday, the Wolverines will be part of the second group to begin the tournament's second round on Saturday. UVU is paired with SU and UTPA for the second round of the three-day tournament. Fredrickson gets Utah Valley's day underway at 8:50 a.m. MT, when he tees off alongside SU's Luka Karaula and UTPA's Gareth Saxon. Dart, Richards and Timmons follow in succession with Eriksen the last Wolverine off the first tee at 9:30 a.m.
Kellen Hiser is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.