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Nevada golf thrives on par-5s to stay in the hunt at NCAA Regional

Sam Meek
Sam Meek shot 5 under and is in second place after the first round of the Albuquerque Regional. (NCAA photos)

After sitting in first place for a portion of Monday's first round at the Albuquerque Regional, the Nevada men's golf team stumbled down the stretch but is still in good shape heading into the final two rounds of play.

The Wolf Pack is tied for fifth in the 14-team field after the first 18 holes, with senior Sam Meek sitting in second individually after a 5-under 67. Nevada shot 3-under 285 in a round that featured 18 birdies, two eagles, 18 bogeys and four double bogeys. Oregon State is in first place at 8 under. Texas Tech is second at 5 under. New Mexico and Texas A&M are tied for third at 4 under. Nevada is tied for fifth along with Arizona State and South Carolina. The top five teams from the Regional advance to nationals. Oklahoma, the No. 1 team in the nation, shot 1 over.

Nevada was in first entering the homestretch of the first round before carding a combined 7 over on its final six holes (the Wolf Pack played the back nine first Monday).

Meeks was strong throughout and carded five birdies, two bogeys and an eagle, that coming on the par-5 18th. Brendan MacDougall had the team's second-best day, shooting 2 under (tied for ninth). He had a team-best six birdies to go with four bogeys. Trey Davis was 1 over while Sam Harned, the Wolf Pack's top-ranked player, shot a 3 over after being 2 under through 10 holes. He was six shots over during an eight-hole stretch on his back nine before birdying his final hole. Peyton Callens shot 7 over, but his score was not counted as only the top-four scores are culled for the team total.

Oklahoma's Jonathan Brightwell has the individual lead after the first day with a 6-under 66. Meek was one stroke back. Four more were behind him at 4-under par. Nevada was 14 under on par 5s on Monday, the best in the field. Meek was four under on the four par-5s. Harned was 3 under on those holes.

Two days of action remain at UNM Championship Course, with 18 more holes each on Tuesday and Wednesday. Nevada, which is in its third straight NCAA Regional, is looking for its fourth berth in the national championship and its first since 2006.

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