April 25, 2010
SORRENTO, Fla. - Rice University senior Christopher Brown came back from bogeys on No. 15 and No. 16 to birdie the 17th hole en route to a two-under par 70 during Sunday's opening round of the Conference USA Men's Golf Championship being held at RedTail Golf Club.
As a team, Rice shot a seven-over par 295 and is currently in second place, three strokes back of tournament host and defending champion UCF.
On Monday the Owls will be paired with UCF along with the University of Tulsa which is in third place after shooting a nine-over par 297 Monday. The three teams will start play from the No. 1 hole beginning at 9:15 a.m. EDT.
"I am excited for our team," said Rice coach Drew Scott. "We started and ended the round a little slowly but in between we played really well. Tomorrow and Tuesday we will look to not quite have the rollercoaster ride we did today."
The Owls were also paired with UCF on Sunday.
"We got to play with the leader today. They were able to make a few more birdies and few less mistakes," Scott said.
Brown's consecutive bogeys on Nos. 15 and 16 came on two of RedTail Golf Club's most difficult holes. Scott said the fifth and sixth holes along with 14 through 16 were all challenging, and in fact, the Owls were a combined +18 as a team on those five holes.
"We will address that tonight and hopefully come out with a little more determination on those five holes tomorrow," Scott said.
After the back-to-back bogeys at 15 and 16, Brown sank a birdie putt on par five 17th hole and Scott said the Rice senior came close to carding another birdie at No. 18. A birdie on the final hole would have given Brown a share of the tournament lead after 18 holes. Tulsa's Rob Laird shot a three-under par 69 and has sole possession of the championship lead after the first round.
Rice junior Michael Whitehead was even for his round and is tied for third with defending individual champion Simon Ward of UCF. Bogeys on No. 15 and No. 16 also separated Rice senior Michael Buttacavoli from an even par round. With a 74 on Sunday, he is tied for 10th.
Brock Wilson shot a 79 on Monday and is tied for 39th while Jade Scott's 80 puts him in a tie for 43rd.
Wilson eagled No. 13 before playing the next four holes at +5.