San Diego State’s golf team only got in to the NCAA Championship because they had a miracle double eagle-eagle playoff finish in a regional tournament. But since they’re in the big tournament, they figured they should go ahead and try to win some more.
The Aztecs got off to a nice start at Eugene Country Club in Oregon. As a team SDSU shot 3-over par, tying them for 3rd place, just one shot back of Arkansas and TCU. That opening round puts them in a fantastic position to make a possible championship run.
In the individual competition Nahum Mendoza III shot a 3-under par 67, tying him for the first round lead. Mendoza, the reigning Mountain West Conference Player of the Year, was even at the turn but shot a bogey-free 33 on his back nine to get to the top of the leaderboard.
His performance, along with Riccardo Michelini’s 1-under par day, has the Aztecs looking at the potential for a big weekend. Last year the NCAA championship series format was changed. Now teams will play 54 holes and the top 15 get to play one more round of stroke play. After that the top eight teams get to start a match play competition much like the NCAA Basketball Tournament, where the #1 seed meets the #1, #2 gets #7, and so on.
The top nine individuals not on one of the advancing teams will also qualify for one additional day of stroke play.