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Georgia Tech takes lead in NCAA golf; Georgia tied for fifth

Photo by Mike Phillips

Photo by Mike Phillips

STILLWATER, Okla. -- James White shot a 5-under 67 on Tuesday to lead Georgia Tech to a three-stroke lead after the first round of the NCAA men's golf championships.

The No. 4-ranked Yellow Jackets shot a 5-under 283 at Karsten Creek Golf Club. Second-ranked UCLA was next, followed by No. 3 Alabama in third with an even-par 288.

Oklahoma State, which has been ranked No. 1 all season and is playing on its home course, is in eighth, nine strokes off the lead. Defending champion Augusta State sits in ninth.

White birdied five of the first nine holes, including a 35-foot putt on the par-4 No. 5. He also made birdie putts on Nos. 14, 16 and 18. The junior leads Texas A&M's Cameron Peck by one, and Patrick Reed of Augusta State in Georgia and J.J. Spaun of San Diego State are two strokes back at 69.

Georgia Tech coach Bruce Heppler almost pulled his team off the course because of windy conditions during Monday's practice round. Following the strong first day, he was sure glad he left his players alone.

"Oklahoma State quit after 9, and I thought about it," Heppler said. "I thought by playing yesterday, we played as hard as (the course) was ever going to play, and we played really well. I thought playing when it was really hard was a good thing because they knew could still hit good shots."

Tuesday's first round was played with virtually no wind and in nearly perfect conditions, which led to 20 sub-par rounds on the par-72, 7,416-yard layout.

Georgia shot a first-round score of 283 and sits in a tie with Illinois for fifth place overall, eight shots behind Georgia Tech.

Georgia was led by Harris English, who shot a 2-under 70 and is tied for fifth. Hudson Swafford shot a 1-under 71 and is tied for ninth.

Deerfield-Windsor's T. J. Mitchell was 2-over for the day and is tied for 47th overall. Georgia's Russell Henry shot a 4-over 76 and is tied for 75th while Georgia's final player, Bryden MacPhearson finished the day at 10-over and is tied for 143rd.

Tech took the team lead, thanks to White's big day and some solid rounds by Tech's next three golfers who all finished in the top 75 in the field. .

Paul Haley shot a 1-under and is tied for ninth. J.T. Griffin shot a 1-over and came in tied for 34th,