Red Raiders Own Lead at 2021 NCAA Golf Championship
Provided by Texas Tech Athletics
SCOTTSDALE, Arizona – Texas Tech will take the lead into the second round of the 2021 NCAA Championship after posting 4-under-par to begin the tournament on Friday at the Grayhawk Golf Club’s Raptor Course. Ludvig Aberg led the Red Raiders by shooting 2-under which has him in fifth after the first day of the championship, while Andy Lopez and Baard Skogen are at 1-under, Kyle Hogan shot even-par and Garrett Martin posted 1-over.
The Red Raiders are scheduled to begin their second round at 11:52 a.m. on Saturday on the back-9 and will once again be paired with Arkansas (T10, +7) and San Diego State (T8, +6).
Tech, which is coming off winning the NCAA Albuquerque Regional, posted it 276 as part of the 15-team morning session and watched as the number stayed atop the leaderboard throughout the day. Sam Houston is in second after the first round at 2-under followed by Pepperdine (1-under) and Oklahoma and Oklahoma State who are both at even-par. Individually, Purdue’s Cole Bradley leads the tournament at 4-under followed by a trio at 3-under.
The NCAA Men’s Golf Championships consist of three days of stroke play on Friday thru Sunday (54 holes) with the top 15 teams and nine individuals not on an advancing team moving on. That is followed by a final day of 18 holes of stroke play on Monday to determine the top eight teams that will advance to match play as well as the 72-hole individual champion. The team national champion will be determined by a match-play format that will consist of quarterfinals and semifinals conducted on Tuesday, followed by the finals on Wednesday. The Golf Channel will broadcast the individual championship round on Monday and the match play rounds on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“We played really well today with all five of our guys playing with a lot of confidence,” TTU head coach Greg Sands said. “I know it’s cliché, but we’re going to stick to our process tomorrow. Ludvig has been a fighter all year and never gives in. I think the best players play good at the end and he’s a great player. I wasn’t surprised when I saw him making those birdies at the end.”
Aberg led the Red Raiders with his round of 2-under after making birdie on three of his final five holes. A sophomore from Sweden, Aberg was 1-over going to No. 14 with 12 pars and a bogey before making his first birdie of the day on the par 4, 430-yard No. 14 hole. A par followed before back-to-back birdies on No. 16 and No. 17. He closed out his first round at the championship with a par on the par 4, 520-yard finishing hole.
“I’m proud of how I finished,” Aberg said. “It’s a tough course with the greens being firm and they put the pins in some nasty spots. I had a lot of patience, especially in the first nine when I didn’t get it going. I’m going to stick to my game plan and feel comfortable with that. Obviously as a team we’re really confident coming from Albuquerque to here. All five guys on the team are playing really well. For me personally, I feel like I have more left in the tank so I think it’s going to be a lot of fun this week.”
Lopez and Skogen are tied for 17th after shooting 1-under in their first rounds. A senior from Plano, Lopez carded the 69 with two birdies and only one bogey. He was at 1-under following a birdie on No. 6 and then was back at even-par with a bogey at 15. He would go red again though on No. 17 and made par on 18 to go into Saturday’s round at 1-under. Skogen matched him at 1-under but with five birdies and four bogeys on his card.
“I played really solid golf with only one bogey today,” Lopez said. “I kept giving myself opportunities and took advantage of some of them. I did a good job of keeping my emotions in control and need to keep doing that. I had a hiccup today with a bogey. I just want to keep doing what I’m doing and try to get some of those putts to drop for more birdies. Our team came into this tournament with momentum and did a good job of continuing that today.”
A freshman from Norway, Skogen got off to a strong start with a birdie on No. 2 and No. 5 to move to 2-under before a bogey on No. 7. He birdied No. 8 and bogeyed No. 9 to be at 1-under on his front-9 and was at 2-under again after a birdie on No. 11. He would add one more birdie and two bogeys to his card before making par on his final two holes.
“I was hitting it good off the tee and wasn’t putting myself into a lot of problems off the box,” Skogen said. “That’s a key out here. If you’re hitting it in the bushes, you’re going to struggle. I hit some scrappy shots here and there and managed to get it around pretty decent. We have a great group of guys who are bonded and playing confident right now. We are trying to do our best for each other. We have great momentum right now. We just need to tidy up some things tomorrow and I need to get my short game going better to save par on some of those holes.”
Hogan had an impressive start to the national tournament where he was 1-under through nine and 2-under through 11 after a birdie on No. 11. A senior from Cypress, Texas, he began the day with a par on the first hole and a birdie on the par 4, 395-yard NO. 2 hole. He was at 2-under for the day after his birdie on 11 before making bogey on No. 15 and No. 18. Martin is one shot back of Hogan after shooting a 1-over, 71 on Friday. A sophomore from San Antonio, Martin was 2-over through his opening nine holes with three bogeys before breaking through with a birdie on No. 8. He was back to 3-over after a bogey on 11 but stormed back with birdies on 14, 15 and 17.
“I did a good job of taking what the course was giving me,” Hogan said. “I hit a lot of irons off the tee instead of driver trying to force it down there. It looked like everyone was playing really solid with five guys in the mix. That’s really all you ask for. I think we are really confident coming off last week’s win with everyone coming into form. Everyone has been working hard and tightening things up. I’m looking forward to tomorrow to see what we can do.”
Fans can follow the tournament through live scoring at this Golfstat.com link along with on social media @TexasTechMGolf. The Golf Channel will begin its coverage of the tournament on Monday from 2-6 p.m. for the Individual National Championship before match play coverage on Tuesday and Wednesday.