FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – UC Santa Barbara senior Zach Smith fired a 6-over par 78 in the first round of the NCAA Championship Tournament at the Blessings Golf Club and he stands tied for 87th in the field of 156 players as he heads into Saturday's second round.
Smith, who became the first UCSB player ever to advance to the NCAA Championships from a Regional, carded a 5-over par 41 over the first nine holes before settling down. In the back nine, he shot a 1-over 37 that included a birdy on the 560-yard par-5 15th.
"Zach was last off the tees and it took him a little time to settle down," said Gauchos' head coach Steve Lass. "Over the back nine he was really good and consistent. I think he'll play that way in the next two rounds."
Smith is tied with 17 other players in 87th-place. There are also 18 players at 5-under and in 69th-place.
A Pleasanton, Calif., native, Smith became just the second UCSB player to advance to the NCAA Division I Championship and the first after battling through an NCAA Regional in which he finished second overall. The only other Gaucho to advance to the national tournament was Marc Melendez, who did so in 1974 when he played at Carlton Oaks and made the cut.
Smith will take part in the next two rounds but will need to qualify for the fourth and final round on Monday.
After the first round, the leader is Collin Morikawa of Cal who shot a 5-under 67. He is two shots ahead of Arizona State's Chun An Yu, Austin Eckroat of Oklahoma State and Utah's Kyler Dunkle, all of whom sit at 3-under par Isaiah Salinda of Stanford is alone in fifth at 2-under par, and there is a group of six tied for sixth at 1-under.
The second round at the 2019 NCAA Division I Golf Championship will tee-off at 7:15 a.m. (CST) on Saturday.