VALENTINE, Neb. – Four University of Houston Men’s Golfers – led by senior Papito Gonzalez and freshman Alexander Frances – posted sub-par rounds Sunday during the First Round of The Jackrabbit to lead the Cougars to a team score of 9-under 279.
Making his collegiate debut, Frances led the Cougars with six birdies and added an eagle, while Gonzalez drained four birdies in a bogey-free First Round to each tie for seventh with 68s.
Gonzalez, who was a 2017 All-American Athletic Conference honoree, drained birdie on his second hole of the day and added another birdie on the 542-yard, par-5 sixth hole on the 7,239-yard, par-72 The Prairie Club layout. He added two birdies in a three-hole stretch early in his back nine and closed the day with five straight pars.
Frances drained consecutive birdies on Nos. 3-4 and sank the first eagle of his career on the sixth hole. Although he finished the final two holes of his front nine at 3-over par, the Stege, Denmark, native, rebounded with a birdie on No. 11 and drained back-to-back birdies on Nos. 14-15 and close out the round with his sixth and final birdie of the day.
With their team total, the Cougars stood in fifth place with two rounds remaining to play. Santa Clara led after the first day with a score of 265, while Kansas stood in second at 275. Tennessee posted a score of 276 to stand in third with Boise State checking in in fourth at 278.
Junior Matt Williams finished at 1-under 71 and was tied for 34th. The Calgary, Alberta, native drained a pair of birdies on his first six holes and closed out his round with two birdies on the final four holes.
Playing as an individual, senior Michael Perras also finished with a 71 Sunday and was tied for 34th. Although he made birdie on No. 11 – his second hole of the day, the Deer Park, Texas, native endured three bogeys on his next nine holes.
Fortunately, the 2017 American Athletic Conference Championships medalist rallied with the Cougars’ fourth eagle of the day on No. 3 and added a birdie on the sixth hole to finish under par.
Sophomore Zach Tracy was tied for 43rd with a 72. Playing as individuals, sophomore George Gardner joined Tracy in a tie for 43rd at 72, while sophomore Tony Gil was tied for 56th at 73. Senior Alan De Bondt was tied for 64th at 74.
Santa Clara’s Hayden Shieh stood atop the individual leaderboard at 8-under 64 to finish one stroke ahead of teammate Matthew McCarty and Francois Lagraulet (UMKC). Tennessee’s Rhys Nevin-Wharton stood in fourth at 66, while Jack Avrit (Santa Clara) and Daniel Hudson (Kansas) were tied for fifth at 67.
Fans can following live scoring from The Jackrabbit by visiting Golfstat.com and following the appropriate links or by clicking here.
SECOND ROUND on MONDAY
For Monday’s Second Round, the Cougars will compete in groups with student-athletes from UCF and Boise State, beginning at 9:50 a.m., off No. 1.
De Bondt starts the Second Round at 9:50 a.m., Monday, with Tracy (10 a.m.), Williams (10:10 a.m.), Gonzalez (10:20 a.m.) and Frances (10:30 a.m.) following.
The Cougars’ individuals begin at 10:20 a.m., Monday, off No. 10. Gill starts at 10:20 a.m., with Gardner (1030 a.m.) and Perras (10:40 a.m.) following.
Tuesday’s Final Round tees off at 8:30 a.m.
Following The Jackrabbit, the Cougars return to Houston to join with Rice and Sam Houston State as hosts of the Bayou City Collegiate Classic on Oct. 9-10 at Golfcrest Country Club in Pearland, Texas.
Besides the Owls and Bearkats, Houston will face Abilene Christian, Arkansas State, Houston Baptist, Lamar, Lipscomb, Little Rock, Nebraska, SMU, Southern Miss, Texas State, UT Arlington and UTSA.
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