Joe Rahm shot a 61 to help Arizona State take a four-stroke lead after the first round of the NCAA men’s golf championship on Tuesday. The Sun Devils finished at 10-under par 270 on the Capital City Club’s 7,319-yard, par 70 Crabapple course.
The No. 1-ranked Cal team is seven shots back in a tie for fourth place with Illinois after a first-day 277. Georgia Tech (274) was second, followed by Alabama (275).
Rahm, the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year, was four strokes up on Oklahoma’s Abraham Ancer (65) and five on Cal’s Brandon Hagy (66).
Cal started slowly, but rallied on the way in, and the Bears remain the overwhelming favorite to win. This is the fourth NCAA championship tournament for Cal’s Max Homa, the third for Hagy and Michael Weaver, and the second for No. 1-ranked Michael Kim and Joel Stalter.
“There’s absolutely a bulls-eye,” said Hagy, who birdied three of his final four holes. “We’ve won 11 of 13 tournaments, and everyone wants to beat us. If there had been discussion about who was the No. 1 team, it takes a little bit of the bulls-eye off of you, but we’re definitely the No. 1 team. All 29 teams want to take a crack at us.”
After three days of stroke play, the individual champion will be crowned and the eight lowest-scoring teams will advance to a match play tournament to decide the national team champion.