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Perico In Contention After Opening Round At NCAA Championship

Lone Razorback in the field is four strokes off the lead

Arkansas Sports Information

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) – Arkansas freshman Julian Perico carded an opening-round, 1-under-par 71 and stands in a tie for sixth place after the first day of the 2019 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship, played at Blessings Golf Club (par 72, 7,550 yards).

Cal’s Collin Morikawa is the first-round leader (5-under, 67). Three players are tied for second at -3, followed by Stanford’s Isaiah Salinda in fifth at -2 and six players, including Perico, tied for fifth at -1.

This was Perico’s 13th time to shoot in the 60’s this season and his fifth over his last eight rounds. His opening round ties for 14th-best by a Razorback at an NCAA Championship, following scores of 64 (Nicolas Echavarria in 2003), 65 (John Daly in 1986), 67 (two times) and 68 (nine times).

Perico played with two other individual qualifiers and the trio was in first place and tied for second heading into the 18th hole. Utah’s Kyler Dunkle had a par on the final hole and was the clubhouse leader with a 3-under-par 69. Perico and Western Kentucky’s Billy Tom Sargent each had a bogey on the final hole and were tied for sixth with a 1-under-par 71 when they completed play.

“It is always disappointing bogey the last hole,” Perico said. “I don’t think I played my best but a 71 on this course is always good. I should be in good position after everyone is done today. Some of the best players in the country are here so being in contention after day one is good.”

Perico’s and his playing partners all led at various points during their round.

“How great was that,” stated Arkansas head coach Brad McMakin. “To have those three guys play a combined 5-under par – on this course – is phenomenal. It was fun to watch. They really fed off each other and the crowd following them.”

Perico got off to a hot start with birdies on holes 2, 3 and 6. He dropped a shot on hole 9 and fell to 1-under after a bogey on the par-3 15th. Perico responded with a par on 14, a birdie on 15 and made two great runs at birdie on holes 16 and 17 before settling for par on both. He finished with a bogey on the par-4 18th to finish at 69.

“I was cruising a little when I got back to 2-under,” Perico said. “I only had two three putts and unfortunately one was on 18. My short game was sharp and I putted really good today. It just got sloppy at certain points. The way I played I should have shot lower.”

Perico, Sargent and Dunkle will tee off at 2:22 pm on Saturday and start on the 10th hole.