Cougars begin NCAA Championship in 16th place

Jake Ellison is tied for ninth at the NCAA Championship (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

SUNRIVER -- Jake Ellison's three-under-par 69 paced the 10th-seeded Cougars into a tie for 16th place after the first round of the 2006 NCAA Championship in Sunriver on Wednesday.

At four-under-par after eleven holes, BYU was in contention and looking like the top 10 team, but a couple of uncharacteristic errors on the back nine cost the Cougars several precious strokes pushing them to a four-over-par first round.

"I thought we did a great job for most of the day, but we mad a couple of mistakes on holes where you can't make mistakes," BYU assistant coach Todd Miller said. "Through 11 holes we were in great shape, but (hole) 12 just killed us."

No. 12 is a par five lined by water. Two Cougars hit it into the water and Daniel Summerhays quickly went from three-under-par to one-under-par. Double bogeys have been almost completely foreign to BYU all season, but Wednesday saw the Cougars post two costly double bogies.

"There isn't a lot of room for error on this type of course and in this type of tournament," BYU head coach Bruce Brockbank said. "Still it was nice to make a couple of birdies coming in to keep us respectable."

Ellison had birdies on 16 and 18 while Clay Ogden birdied 18 as well to help keep BYU in the top 20. Ellison was the lone Cougar to go under par in the first round. Still gushing from the birth of his first child on Saturday, Ellison put together a solid back nine to start the tournament in a tie for ninth place. The reigning Mountain West Conference Player of the Year made three birdies on back nine including a huge par putt on No. 12 and a chip in for birdie on No. 11.

"My par putt on (hole) 12 was huge for me because I didn't want to lose momentum," Ellison said. "My swing was feeling good and I was making a lot of putts. It was good for me to play well on the back nine, which usually isn't my best nine."

Summerhays posted the second best score of the day for BYU. He was two-under after nine holes, but finished the day at one-over-par and tied for 68th place out of 155 individuals. Senior Oscar Alvarez was up and down all day and finished two-over-par while Ogden was three-over on the final four holes and finished four-over for the day. Nick Becker finished at five-over par.

With three rounds of golf to play BYU has plenty of time to catch first-round leader Wake Forest, who holds a three stroke lead at 11-under-par. Top-ranked and defending national champion Georgia is one stroke behind BYU at five-over-par and tied with the Mountain West's other representative UNLV.

"Anything can happen with three rounds of golf left," Ellison said. "We've just got to chip away at the lead each day and make lots of pars and we can get back in it."

BYU will get an early tee time on Thursday with the hopes of avoiding possible afternoon showers in Oregon. You can follow the Cougars live on the internet at www.golfstat.com.

BYU INDIVIDUAL SCORES

T9. Jake Ellison 69 -3

T68. Daniel Summerhays 73 +1

T83. Oscar Alvarez 74 +2

T118. Clay Ogden 76 +4

T136. Nick Becker 77 +5

TEAM SCORES

1 Wake Forest Univ. -11 277

2 UCLA -8 280

T3 Washington -7 281

T3 Oklahoma State -7 281

5 Clemson -6 282

6 Kentucky -5 283

T7 Florida -4 284

T7 North Carolina St. -4 284

T7 Oklahoma -4 284

10 East Tennessee St. -2 286

T11 Arizona State -1 287

T11 Minnesota -1 287

13 Charlotte E 288

14 Duke University +2 290

15 Texas A&M +3 291

T16 Northwestern +4 292

T16 Lamar University +4 292

T16 Brigham Young +4 292

T16 South Carolina +4 292

T20 UNLV +5 293

T20 Georgia +5 293

22 Auburn +7 295

T23 Arizona +8 296

T23 Nevada +8 296

T23 Pepperdine +8 296

T23 Coastal Carolina +8 296

T27 North Carolina +9 297

T27 Texas Tech +9 297

29 Loyola Marymount +12 300

30 Georgia Tech +13 301

Tags: Results