Waikoloa, Hawai'i - Shaking off a rough start to day one of the Amer Ari tournament, the Tiger golf team rebounded over the second half of the opening 18 holes of action to finish at +6 on Thursday afternoon. Dealt a tough hand from the start with the loss of sophomore Anthony Madrid due to injury right before the start of the tournament, the Tigers finished the first day of play at 290, one back of the No. 1 ranked Auburn Tigers, who finished five-over to start play. The two Tiger teams and the rest of the field in Hawaii trail a pair of Pac-12 foes in Stanford and USC who completed play on Thursday at -10.
Taking on a tough 7,074-yard, par 72 course at the Waikoloa Beach Resort, the Tigers were led by their seniors with SeungJae Maeng pacing his Pacific teammates at -2 over the 18 holes. The senior, rallied after dropping two strokes in the first two holes of the day to run off a stretch of birdies that saw the fourth-year Tiger pick up four shots in just six holes around the bend. Maeng would end his day with five birdies in all to score his -2, 70, which ranked as the second-best round of the year for the senior. For his play, Maeng put himself in solid position on the leaderboard after day one as he sits in a tie for 15th overall and four shots back of the individual leader, Conner Kumpula of Oregon State.
Behind Maeng, fellow senior Matt Lee, fresh off a win in the pre-tournament dance competition on Wednesday night, rebounded from a tough start to post a +1, 73 in the opening round. Outdoing his classmate in Maeng, Lee came up with a team-best six birdies on the day to finish tied for 57th on the leaderboard after falling behind four strokes just two holes into the tournament. Lee's rebound came in the form of notching five of his six birdies in just six holes around the bend to get back into the tournament and set himself up for the final two days of play.
The Tigers will tee off round two at the Amer Ari on Friday, Feb. 5 at 9:30 am PDT alongside of UCLA, Osaka Gakuin University, and Arizona State.