UTEP's Simonsen Shoots Even Par on Day One of NCAA Regional
May 17, 2012
UTEP freshman Martin Simonsen fired an even-par 72 over the first 18 holes of the NCAA Norman Regional on Thursday at Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club.
Simonsen is tied for 20th place among individuals. More importantly, he remains in contention for a bid to the NCAA Championships, despite not being on top of his game Thursday. The low five teams and the low individual not on those teams will advance to the finals, slated for May 29-June 3 in Pacific Palisades, California.
The top five teams after one round are Florida State (279), Texas (279), Illinois (284), St. Mary's [Calif.] (286) and Washington (286). Georgia Tech's James White and South Carolina's Wesley Bryan are next in line among individuals, both shooting a three-under-par 69 on Thursday, but there are still 36 holes to be played - 18 each on Friday and Saturday.
"There's going to be a lot of movement between the teams, so we're not even going to pay attention to the standings," UTEP coach Scott Lieberwirth said. "We just need to play well. We're not going to get caught up in where we stand. Maybe in the last nine holes of the tournament, we'll start paying closer attention to it. We don't want to get caught up in that numbers game right now."
Simonsen birdied holes six, 10 and 16 on Thursday and bogeyed holes four, five and seven. He was two-over for the front nine and two under for the back nine.
"Generally he hits it long and straight. Today he was in the rough. He was out of position numerous times," Lieberwirth said. "Really, he should feel very pleased about shooting the 72 considering it could've really gotten away from him. He's disappointed because he's not used to having that many missed shots in a round. He was definitely frustrated with his ball striking, but around the greens he was very good. I guess it's a little bit of give and take. He's not pleased with the positions he put himself in, but he did a nice job of getting out of it even par."
The 2012 Conference USA Freshman of the Year, Simonsen is the first UTEP individual to compete at NCAA Regionals since Roger Sloan in 2009. He will tee off in the next-to-last group on Friday at 10:10 a.m. Central/9:10 Mountain.