No. 2 Texas A&M opened play at the 2018 SEC Men’s Golf Championship on Wednesday and sits in 14th place after the event’s opening 18 holes.
“Obviously, a very disappointing day,” Texas A&M head coach J.T. Higgins said. “This is not the time you want to have your worst round of the season, during the SEC Championship. However, it is just one round and there is still a lot of golf to play. Our goal is still the same, to be playing on Saturday, which means we’ve got to find a way to move up the leaderboard and into the top eight.”
After a morning practice round, the Aggies (296, +16) hit the Seaside Course at Sea Island Golf Club in earnest during the afternoon, but could never find their stride. No. 4 Vanderbilt (-4), meanwhile, paces the field with Tennessee (E), No. 9 Auburn (E), No. 11 LSU (+1) and No. 6 Alabama (+3) rounding out the top five schools in the team standings.
The SEC Men’s Golf Championship will feature two more rounds of stroke play before the field is trimmed to eight squads that will face off in match play on Saturday before a final two schools will battle head-to-head for the SEC title Sunday.
“Our guys have a lot of heart and a lot of pride,” Higgins added. “We need to put today behind us, go out tomorrow and put our best foot forward to make up some ground. If we can advance to Saturday and make it to match play, it really doesn’t matter what place you were in stroke play. That’s our goal, same goal as when we got here. We just need to do a better job of keeping the ball in play off the tee and putting up some birdies.”
Sophomore Brandon Smith (73, +3) was the highest-ranking Aggie on the player leaderboard after one round with a share of 36th, while teammates Andrew Paysse and Walker Lee were a stroke back in a tie for 44th at four-over par.
Junior All-American Chandler Phillips, who finished third individually during stroke play at the 2017 SEC Men’s Golf Championship, opened this year’s event with a 75 (+5) to sit in a tie for 53rd while sophomore Dan Erickson (79, +9) rounded out the A&M contingency in 68th.
The tournament will resume with a second round of 18 holes on Thursday. Texas A&M’s lineup is scheduled to begin teeing off at 12:05 p.m. (CT) and be paired alongside golfers Vanderbilt and Alabama. Results and live scoring can be found on GolfStat.com.