April 27, 2014
PALM HARBOR, Fla. - University of Houston junior Kyle Pilgrim fired an opening-round 71 to lead the ninth-ranked Men's Golf program at the American Athletic Conference Championships and finish the first day in fifth place.
The Colleyville, Texas, native started the tournament red hot, draining an eagle and birdie with a par through his first three holes. Although he cooled off with three bogeys and a double bogey over the next 10 holes, Pilgrim posted back-to-back birdies on Nos. 14 and 15 and capped his round with three straight pars.
As a team, the Cougars posted a team score of 8-over-par 292 on the 7,125-yard, par-71 Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club and were tied for fourth with Cincinnati. No. 7 UCF held the first-day lead at 283 with No. 31 SMU (287) and No. 30 USF (290).
The Cougars look to win their second straight conference title while competing in their first year in The American. A year ago, Houston enjoyed a 3-stroke victory over SMU during the Conference USA Championships.
Junior Roman Robledo, who captured the 2013 C-USA individual title, posted three birdies on his front nine and was tied for sixth with a 72. Senior James Ross was tied for 18th at 74, while seniors Curtis Reed and Wesley McClain were tied for 28th at 75.
Individually, UCF's Linus Vaisanen held the first-day lead with a 4-under-par 67. SMU's Bryson Dechambeau and Austin Smotherman and UCF's Ricardo Gouveia were tied for second at 70. After Pilgrim, Robledo joined six other players at 72 in a tie for sixth place.
No. 47 Memphis (298), Louisville (299), UConn (301), Temple (305) and Rutgers (310) rounded out the team field. The winner of The American Championship receives the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals.
The tournament continues with a 7a.m. (CDT) split-tee start Monday. Fans can follow live scoring by visiting GolfStat.com and following the appropriate links or by clicking here.
The Cougars will compete with USF in Monday's Second Round with McClain starting the day off No. 1 at 7:50 a.m. (CDT). From there, Reed (8 a.m.), Ross (8:10 a.m.), Robledo (8:20 a.m.) and Robledo (8:30 a.m.) will follow.
Following the American Athletic Conference Championships, the Cougars will wait to learn their NCAA postseason fate. The Cougars are poised to make their third straight NCAA Regional appearance as a team, a first since 2000-02.
The NCAA Men's Golf Selection Show will air at 9 a.m., Monday, May 5 on the Golf Channel.
Fans can receive live scoring updates by following @UHCougarGolf on Twitter and catch up with the latest news and notes on the team by clicking LIKE on the team's Facebook page at HoustonCougarGolf.