STILLWATER, Okla. – When it comes to playing golf on difficult courses, sometimes the clichéd advice is the best – take it one shot at a time.
During Tuesday’s first round of the 2011 NCAA Men’s Golf Championships, Hunter Hamrick was just trying to survive one shot at a time.
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Hamrick, a junior for Alabama, entered the week not feeling 100 percent, and on Monday night after the team’s practice round headed to the hospital.
“I didn’t get much sleep,” said Hamrick after his 1-under-par 71 on Tuesday. “I had a sore throat last week and then I got a migraine about four days ago and it didn’t go away. The migraine escalated into body aches and a fever. When I checked into the hospital [Monday night] I had a 102 [degree] fever. When I came out [Tuesday] I had a fever and it was hot.
“I think the fever broke on the back nine because I was able to cool down a little bit.”
Hamrick teed off about 12:45 p.m. Tuesday with on-course temperatures near 90 degrees and little wind to be found. The Oklahoma humidity didn’t help matters. He bogeyed the difficult par-4 10th hole but rebounded with six consecutive pars. He birdied Nos. 17 and 18 to make the turn at 1-under. Bogeys on Nos. 3 and 4 put the Hamrick back at 1-over but he birded Nos. 6 and 9 for his 71.
Eighteen players shot under par on Tuesday, but none was more gutty than Hamrick’s.
“I would go to war with that guy,” said Alabama head coach Jay Seawell, whose squad shot even-par and sits in third place entering Wednesday’s second round. “Trey [Mullinax] got off to a horrible start and we didn’t know if Hunter could go or how many holes he could get in. I wasn’t sure if he could go 18 holes.
“For Hunter to go out there and shoot 1-under-par, for as bad as he felt, I am very proud of him.”
Hamrick entered the week ranked No. 76 by Golfweek.
“It [not feeling well] just allowed me to play one shot at a time, which is what you have to do on a golf course this hard,” said Hamrick. “I was just taking a step at a time and that helped me play well. I couldn’t get ahead of myself. I couldn’t think about anything but moving along and hitting the next shot.”