“We played very well today,” head coach Mike Dirks said. “Despite making 22 birdies on the day we missed a lot of putts. The golf course wasn’t as long as we expected it to be. I told each player that they could shoot 6-under par. I’m happy with our play today and hopefully we can continue to play at this level over the next few days.”
The reigning WAC champion Aggies, who are trying to win their seventh conference crown in nine years, sank 22 birdies on the day while only accumulating four bogeys and one double bogey.
All five NM State golfers shot even par or better during round one to take the team to the front of the leaderboard. Leading the way is sophomore Kenneth Fadke II who, like his team, will head to the second round with a two-shot lead. Fadke finished second during last year’s conference championship as a freshman.
Fadke carded an 8-under 64 on Friday, one shot off the WAC tournament record for low score in a round, to finish in first ahead of Idaho’s Aaron Cockerill who shot a 6-under 66. Fadke finished the day with eight birdies, five on the front nine, and no bogeys for his 8-under.
Not to be outdone, Aggie junior Pat Beyhan also shot a bogey-free round during the first round. He carded a total of five birdies to finish the round with a 5-under 67 and in a tie for third place with Idaho’s Ryan Porch.
Also shooting under par on Friday were NM State junior Brett Walker, who finished at 2-under 70 and in a five-way tie for sixth place, and senior Zach Adams, who is in tie for 11th place with seven other golfers at 1-under 71.
Right behind Walker and Adams is Aggie senior Willy Hogan who finished in a tie for 19th place after shooting even par 72 during round one.
It looks like it might be a two-team race for the conference championship after the first day. After NM State and Idaho, which sits at 14-under 274, third-place Missouri-Kansas City is 11 shots back at 283 (-5) and Utah Valley is 12 back at 284 (-4). Rounding out the bottom half of the standings are Texas-Pan American (+9 297), Seattle U (+10 298), Chicago State (+14 302) and Bakersfield (+19 307).
The WAC Championship continues with round two of the three-round tournament on Saturday and the final 18 holes on Sunday. Saturday’s second round is scheduled to tee off at 8 a.m. (MDT) with the first NM State golfer hitting the course at 9:40 a.m.
Fans can follow the action live all weekend with live scoring at www.golfstat.com and also log on to NMStateSports.com after each round for a complete Aggie team and individual recap.