MANHATTAN, Kan. (5/15/03)- The North Texas men’s golf team got off to a raging start in the first round of the NCAA Central Regional firing a three-under par 285 at the Colbert Hills Country Club to sit in a three-way tie for seventh place. The Mean Green are tied with top seeded Texas and third-seeded Oklahoma State ten shots behind the first round leader Illinois.
Junior Zach Atkinson led a trio of Mean Green golfers to shoot under par in the first round as he posted a two-under 70. North Texas was one of only two schools to post sub-par rounds among the morning groups. Regional-host Kansas State (-1, 287) was the other school.
“We put ourselves in the position that we need to be in,” said North Texas head coach Jim Bob Jackson. “We need to do this tomorrow and were going to have to play well but I’m really proud of the way the team started”.
Atkinson opened up on the back nine and fired a three-under 33 to start his round off. Thomas Kulcak and Brad Gibson both joined Atkinson with under par rounds as they both fired a score of one-under par 71.
“He’s (Atkinson) playing really good right now. He’s been doing this all year long for us,” said Jackson.
Senior Freddy Espericueta shot an opening round score of one-over par 73 and Sun Belt Conference Champion Brad Besler started a little sluggish with an opening round of four-over par 76.
North Texas, winners of four NCAA national titles, is trying to qualify for the NCAA Championship for the first time since 1963. The top ten teams and top two individual golfers from teams not advancing will move onto the Championship held in Stillwater, Oklahoma May 27-30.
Second round play continues tomorrow with the Mean Green teeing off in the afternoon.
North Texas Scores
Zach Atkinson 70 -2
Brad Gibson 71 -1
Thomas Kulcak 71 -1
Freddy Espericueta 73 +1
Brad Besler 76 +4