BYU got off to a decent start at the NCAA golf championships Wednesday but nothing like the start of red-hot Arizona State.
The Cougars' first-round 291 put them in a tie for 11th place. But they are also 15 strokes behind ASU, which put a 12-under 276 total on the board. The Sun Devils were paced by a sizzling 63 from left-hander Phil Mickelson, a former NCAA champion, who has already won a PGA Tour event.BYU senior Mike Weir, also a lefty, fired a 2-under-par 70 to lead the Cougars' opening-day effort. That put him in a tie for ninth place with 11 other golfers, seven strokes off the lead.
BYU's Ryan Rhees and Ramon Brobio both came in with 1-over-par 73s, while Dean Wilson shot a 75. Sophomore Brad Sutterfield had a non-counting 77 in the best-four-of-five scoring format.
The Cougars were tied with Texas and Central Florida. But they lead 16th place Alabama and Ohio State by only three strokes, which is important because only the top 15 teams and six individuals not on those teams will qualify for the final two rounds on Friday and Saturday.
Nine golfers failed to complete the first round when play was suspended at 8:15 p.m. due to darkness following a two-hour, 30-minute rain delay earlier in the day.
Play continued Thursday at the New Mexico South Course with BYU going off in the morning wave.