Yesterday, Texas winds picked up and made for tough afternoon scoring conditions and a leaderboard filled with those who pegged it in the morning. Leading the way are veterans James Hahn and Ricky Barnes who each fired six-under 64s and hold a two shot lead over Matt Kuchar, Jhonattan Vegas, Jason Kokrak and Cameron Tringale who shot the low round of the afternoon wave.
Notables: Dustin Johnson (-3), Jason Day (-2), Jordan Spieth (-2), Sergio Garcia (+3), Brooks Koepka (-3), Patrick Reed (E)
What to watch this weekend
New putter new Jordan?
Citing an alignment issue, Jordan Spieth is gaming a new mallet Scotty Cameron this week, and so far the results are good after the superstar fired a 2-under 68 on Thursday. It’s shocking to see the world’s best putter make a change, but I’m guessing it's pretty well thought out.
Since last year’s final group pairing on Sunday at the Masters, golf has been tough for second year player Smylie Kaufman. After a multitude of missed cuts and low finishes it appears Smylie’s got his groove back after a t5th at the Wells Fargo and a t12th at the Players. The former LSU star will look to keep the momentum going after opening with a one over par round in the tough afternoon conditions.
A guy to watch
Every Friday, we will profile a PGA Tour pro who is in the mix that you might not know much about. Up first is Michael Kim who is in a tie for 14th after an opening 67. The second year professional has been a model of consistency since joining the Tour making 21 of 28 cuts during his rookie year. Kim was a standout at Cal winning the 2013 Haskins Award given to the country’s top collegiate player and his success has translated at the pro level. Kim is a player I expect to be around for a long time and win multiple times. He needs to work his way into contention more but a win is coming sooner than later.
Bubba as a righty? DJ as a lefty? Watch how the PGA Tour’s best would swing from the opposite side of the ball…
On Wednesday, thirty teams and six individuals earned their spot in the National Championship field at Rich Harvest Farms from six regionals. Here is a rundown on who made it and what you need to know.
Qualifying Teams: Oklahoma State (-13), Texas (-11), Iowa State (-11), Ole Miss (+2), Arizona State (+7)
Medalist: Nick Voke (-14) - Iowa State
Individual Qualifier: Will Zalatoris (-3)
What you need to know: The big story out of Austin was Wake Forest not qualifying, falling four shots short of the final qualifying spot. Their star player Will Zalatoris will head to Rich Harvest Farms in search of adding an NCAA Individual title to his decorated career. Medalist Nick Voke shot a sensational final round 10-under 61 to lead the Cyclones to the NCAA Championships, the round featured no bogeys, 8 birdies and an eagle.
Baton Rouge Regional
Qualifying Teams: LSU (+2), Duke (+10), Oregon (+15), Virginia (+17), Jacksonville (+19)
Medalist: Sam Burns (-4)
Individual Qualifier: Mason Overstreet (+2) - Arkansas
What you need to know: In a showdown between two Haskins Award favorites, LSU’s Sam Burns beat out Oregon’s Wyndham Clark by one shot for the regional title. Burns had the advantage of playing on his home track, notching his fourth win of the season while Clark earned his sixth top 2 finish on the season. The other big story was Jacksonville’s David Wicks, who had his ball fall out of his pocket and into the water before he had finished the hole, causing him to get into the snake infested water to search for it to no evail leading to a two shot penalty.
West Lafayette Regional
Qualifying Teams: UNLV (+8), Auburn (+11), Illinois (+14), New Mexico (+16), Purdue (+18)
Medalist: Andrej Bevins New Mexico & Nick Hardy Illinois (-3)
Individual Qualifier: Trent Wallace (+1) - Illinois State
What you need to know: It was a wild final day, the winds were up and caused major swings in the leaderboard with Illinois making a big move from outside the top 5 to third place while heavyweight Florida had a disastrous final round and failed to qualify. Meanwhile, hats off to head coach, Rob Bradley, who is building a program at Purdue. The Boilermakers will make their third appearance at the National Championship in the last four years. A great story is Illinois State’s Sophomore Trent Wallace who earned a spot in the National Championship despite playing at a mid-major school in the north.
Qualifying Teams: Stanford (-17), Baylor (-17), Pepperdine (-5), Oklahoma (-3), North Carolina (+3)
Medalist: Brad Dalke (-12) - Oklahoma
Individual Qualifier: Travis Trace (-2) - North Florida
What you need to know: The top teams impressed with Stanford and Baylor finishing in a tie for first, both stand as serious National Championship contenders. On the individual front U.S. Amatuer runner-up Brad Dalke added a highlight to what has been a disappointing season, Dalke struggles to make putts, but when he does, few are better as evidenced by this week.
Qualifying Teams: USC (-3), Kent State (+3), Florida State (+10), Alabama (+10), Penn State (+11)
Medalist: Cole Miller (-7) Penn State
Individual Qualifier: Chandler Phillips (-2) - Texas A&M
What you need to know: The top-ranked Trojans took care of business winning the regional thanks to strong play from their star players Rico Hoey (t5th), Sean Crocker (t2nd) and Justin Suh (t2nd). The surprise was Texas A&M not qualifying despite having two of the best players in the country in Cameron Champ and Chandler Phillips.
College Grove Regional
Qualifying Teams: UCF (-1), Vanderbilt (+1), Kennesaw State (+1), Clemson (+1), Lipscomb (+5)
Medalist: Dawson Armstrong (-8)
Individual Qualifier: Cam Norman (-3) Troy
What you need to know: Vandy stumbled on Wednesday, allowing UCF to sneak in and grab the regional crown. The big story was Lipscomb who was led by their star and 2015 Western Amateur Champion Dawson Armstrong who medaled and got the 4,000 student school, a ticket to the National Championship. While Lipscomb isn’t likely to threaten for the championship, Armstrong returns to the site of his Western Am win and should be considered one of the favorites for the individual crown.
When in Dallas
A couple of weeks back, I had the opportunity to check out Stevens Park Golf Course, a city of Dallas run golf course just minutes from Downtown Dallas. If you are into fun, affordable golf with good architecture, I would recommend you check it out. Read my full review here.
Fresh off the press
We know this re-up on polos and visors is long overdue, but you can't rush perfection! It's a pleasure to release the 2017 collection of NLU polos partnering with Holderness & Bourne once again (another #SmallShop trying to do big things). The new line of scripted visors are in collaboration with Imperial to keep the look on the course as classic and 'fratastic' as possible.
On behalf of Soly, Tron, and Big Randy, we appreciate the strong support from this newsletter community of readers and golfers the past year and wanted to make sure we released the gear to you all first. This apparel should be the apart of your 'elite' wardrobe that you reach for again and again. If you feel otherwise, please let us know. Use The code below at checkout for 10% off any purchase from the NLU Signature Series with free shipping on any order over $80:
No Laying Up,
Young Neil - Merch Czar