May 28, 2013
Sun Devil freshman Jon Rahm, the Pac-12 Freshman of the year, entered the NCAA Championships in Atlanta tied for third in the nation with 149 birdies.
He added to that total just a little on Tuesday in the opening round as he led his team to the first-round lead.
Rahm had 10 birdies and just one bogey to shoot a NCAA opening-round record low score of 61. Playing the back nine first, he birdied the tenth hole, had his only bogey on 11 and then had nine more birdies and no bogeys en route to the 9-under 61. Only Notah Begay of Stanford had a lower score in relation to par in the opening round of the NCAA Championship, as he posted a 10-under 62 in 1994. Duke's Michael Schachner shot a 60 in the final round of the 2007 NCAA Championship at Golden Horseshoe Golf Club in Williamsburg, Va., which is the NCAA Championship single-round scoring record.
The best part of Rahm's round was his teammates played solid as well. Fellow freshman Max Rottluff had a 2-under 68, sophomore Austin Quick shot par-70 and Spencer Lawson was just 1-over. Freshman Trey Ka'ahanui, who carried the Sun Devils at the Tempe Regional with a 5-under 65 in the final round, was at 5-over. ASU shot a 10-under 270, and leads after round one over host Georgia Tech (274), Alabama (275) and Illinois (276).
Rahm entered this week as one of only two players in the nation to play 43 rounds this year, and all of them counted. He ranks first in the nation in par-5 scoring at 4.52 strokes and is tied for first in the nation lead with nine eagles and tied for third in nation with 149 birdies. He has a four-stroke lead over Abraham Ancer of Oklahoma and a five-stroke lead over Brandon Hagy of Cal. He will tee it at 2:10 p.m. ET on Wednesday (11:10 a.m. Arizona time).
ASU has had four NCAA medalists on six occasions as Carter (1983), Phil Mickelson (1989, 1990, 1992), Todd Demsey(1993) and Canizares (2003) all have taken home the trophy in the past past 30 seasons. No other program can match the Sun Devil six NCAA champions since 1983, as only Oklahoma State (five), Illinois (two) and UNLV (two) have had multiple winners in that time.
JON'S LOW ROUNDS IN 2012-13
61, first round at NCAA Championships
64, second round at Pac-12 Preview
65, second round at Bill Cullum Invitational
65, third round at Pac-12 Preview
67, third round at Lamkin Grips San Diego Classic
NOTES ON THE 61
--The competitive course record at Crabapple is believed to be 65, shot in the Rolex Tournament of Champions (a junior tournament) in 2005.
--Tiger Woods shot 66 in the second round at Crabapple in the 2003 WGC American Express Championship.
--This season marks the 10th anniversary of Sun Devil freshman Alejandro Canizares winning the 2003 title, the 20th anniversary of Todd Demsey winning the 1993 title and the 30th anniversary of Jim Carter winning the 1983 title.