University of Kansas senior Harry Hillier shot a 2-under-par 68 to tie for first place, pacing the Jayhawks’ men’s golf team to a tie for fourth place in the team standings after the first day of the NCAA championships on Friday at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Hillier’s 68 established a new school record for lowest round by a KU golfer at the NCAA meet. The previous low belonged to Chris Thompson (1998, second round) and Brad Bruno (1993, fourth round), who both posted 69s.
Hillier, a native of New Zealand, tied Brendan Valdes of Auburn, who also shot 68 on Friday. Five others are 1 shot back of Hillier and Valdes.
As a team, KU finished the 18 holes with a team score of 6-over 286. Vanderbilt leads at 282, followed by Oregon and Auburn (285).
The 286 is a program record for lowest team round by a KU team at the NCAA meet.
Hillier birdied the first two holes and shot a 4-under 31, on the front nine with six birdies and two bogeys. He finished the front nine with birdies at Nos. 7, 8 and 9.
“I got off to a hot start — stuffed it on the first, had a good putt on the second and got the momentum rolling,” Hillier said in a KU news release. “The course is tough. You have to keep it in play. You have to hit it on the right side of the hole. … I ran into a little trouble in the desert — bogey, birdie, bogey, birdie, but it was a good grind out there. The guys did well, so we’ll come back tomorrow and do it again.”
KU’s Callum Bruce fired a 1-over 71, while Luke Kluver shot a 73. Ben Sigel shot 74, while William Duquette posted a 5-over 75. Bruce is tied for 16th, while Kluver is tied for 42nd. Sigel is tied for 62nd, and Duquette is tied for 101st. The event has a field of 156 golfers.
“I thought we got off to a good start,” KU coach Jamie Bermel said. “Callum (Bruce) was slow out of the gate, but finished well. Harry had a really good round. Six-over is a decent score out there. There’s a lot of golf left out there. You can’t win it on the first day, but you can shoot yourself in the foot. I thought we were pretty solid.”
Of Hillier’s round, Bermel said: “I didn’t see much of it, I was with Luke, but every time I looked at my phone, he made another birdie. It’s a great round to start the tournament up. He has that horsepower. I’m not surprised one bit by that round.”
The Jayhawks will tee off beginning at 1:52 p.m., Central time, Saturday. Live stats will be provided through Golfstat.