The Arizona Wildcats hosted the opening round of the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) Sunday afternoon at Omni Tucson National in style. The Wildcats notched a 285 (-3) and sit in fourth place as a team. The score set a season best for lowest combined round.
Two Wildcats – Jordan Gumberg and Kolton Lapa -- finished the day in the top 10 to lead the team. Arizona leads the competition in birdies made with 18 and also notched three eagles in near perfect conditions at Tucson National with clear skies, an 80-degree temperature and a light breeze.
Gumberg, a sophomore, notched four birdies to give him a score of 69 (-3) and a share of fifth place. Lapa shot two under for a score of 70 (-2) to give him a share of ninth place. Lapa’s score came off one birdie and two eagles on the back nine. The senior has now hit an eagle in three consecutive tournaments.
"Today was a great day for Arizona golf,” Gumberg said, “we took a big step forward in proving that we can compete. Personally I had a solid round, I stuck to my game plan and executed the shots that I wanted to hit."
Sophomores Jake Kreuz, Peter Koo and Max Donohue contributed to the team score netting a combined 13 birdies and an eagle. Kreuz finished the first round at par with a score of 72 (E) notching four birdies to give him a share of 29th place. Koo shot a 74 (+2) to tie him for 45th place. The sophomore from South Korea notched five birdies, four of which came consecutively on holes 14-17. Donohue notched four birdies and an eagle to tie him at 61st with a score of 76 (+4).
“We posted an under par round for the first time this year which is a great sign,” coach Jim Anderson said. “An even better sign is that our team is not satisfied. We made 18 birdies and three eagles today which means the firepower is there. We will work on cleaning up a few mistakes, which lead to bogeys and other big numbers. By doing this we can put the team in a great position for the final round. Jordan and Kolton have demonstrated great patience and composure out there. I was especially impressed to see Peter birdie four of his final five holes which really bailed us out from counting a high score.”
The Wildcats had six individuals competing in the NIT. Leading the group was freshman Andrew Garner who shot a 67 (-5). Garner was disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard. Freshmen Martin Larrea and Tyler Moore notched a 75 (+3) to give them a share of 52nd place. Redshirt Freshman Austin Stadeli carded a 76 (+4) to tie him for 61st. Freshman Ari Gulugain tied for 75th with a score of 80 (+8). Sophomore George Cunningham placed 79th with a score of 81 (+9).
Max Donohue will be the first Wildcat to tee off tomorrow at 8:45 a.m. MST, starting on the front nine.
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