Chattanooga Mocs senior Chris Robb (Aberdeenshire, Scotland) made it look easy Saturday at Prairie Dunes Country Club, He shot a one-under par 69 and is tied for 30th after 18 holes at the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship.
Robb hit 15 of 18 greens, along with 10 of 14 fairways on a course that demands precision.
“Chris hit it really good today,” Head Coach Mark Guhne said. “I think he hit 15 greens, and we never had to go look for a golf ball which is great out here. This golf course is really tough when you miss the fairway. If he can keep that up, he’s going to have a great tournament.”
For his part, Robb was pleased, but not overjoyed with his round.
“I’m pretty happy with the way I played,” the Scot stated. “There were a few putts out there I’d like to have made…maybe take a few more chances. I played solid and -1 is a good start to the tournament.
“I was playing with this big cut all day,” he continued. “I knew it was going to cut, so I played with that and hit the safe side of the greens and made a few putts.”
He started the day on No. 13, his fourth hole, after the round was suspended yesterday due to more than eight hours of weather delays. Robb was even after a nice up-and-down on the hole.
He got his first of three birdies on the par four 14th hole. He hit his approach to within six-to-eight feet and drained the putt to get to -1. After three straight two-putt pars, Robb hit his first bump in the road at 18.
A nice tee shot was followed by an error. His approach went right of the green and despite a good chip, his par effort slid past the hole resulting in a bogey and a level par score at the turn.
Robb struck again at the par three second. Another well-placed tee shot gave him an excellent look at birdie and he took it. He followed with a bogey on three, however, with a frustrating three putt.
He got back to his solid ways. Fairways and greens followed with pars on five and six as his birdie effort just slid by on six. His drive on the par five seventh was just off the fairway in the right rough. It was not a deterrent.
His second shot bounced through the green into a collection area back left of the green. His chip checked up six feet shy of the hole, but Robb rolled it true into the heart to get back to -1.
The eighth hole proved to be quite a challenge. His drive was perfect, but his approach leaked right and a twisting putt looked treacherous. Robb calmly started the downhill putt which broke right and then back left and settled behind the hole for the “easy” tap-in par. Another routine par followed on nine for the final tally of 69.
He was succinct looking ahead to tomorrow’s second round.
“It’s the same gameplan,” he said. “Hit all the greens I can and the fairways. That’s crucial out here. The greens are undulating but played slow today.
“That’s the gameplan…just keep it simple.”
South Carolina’s Will Starke shot a six-under par 64. He played the final six holes at -4 with three straight birdies to end his day. Virginia’s Denny McCarthy and Oklahoma’s Charlie Saxon are a stroke back at 65. Starke staked his Gamecocks to the team lead as well at -8, 272. No. 15 Oklahoma is second at 273, while top-ranked Alabama and No. 23 Auburn are tied for third carding 274 (-6).
The afternoon wave today began its second 18 at 4 p.m., Eastern time. The goal is to complete as many holes as weather and daylight allow before completing it Sunday. Robb is slated to start on No. 1 at 10 a.m., as the field of 156 attempts to get through 54 holes before the cut into Monday’s final individual round and the final eight teams headed to match play Tuesday and Wednesday to crown the team champion.
The live scoring link is above. Follow @GoMocsMGLF on twitter for live updates from the course.