Wake Forest takes early leadMay 31, 2006

SUNRIVER, Ore. --- Senior Kyle Reifers shot a 7-under par 65 to help Wake Forest to the top of the leader board after the first round of the 109th NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championships at Crosswater Club in Sunriver, Ore., on Wednesday. The Demon Deacons took advantage of a calm, sunny morning to fire an 11-under par team score of 277.

The UCLA Bruins are three strokes back and in second after combining for an 8-under 280 during a windy afternoon. The Washington Huskies and Oklahoma State Cowboys are tied for third at 281, while the Clemson Tigers finished with a 282 to round out the top five.

"It's a very good start," Wake Forest head coach Jerry Haas said. "The guys played great and played very efficient golf. We played good at regionals and won, and we got off to a great start here. I fully expect, as does our team, to be there on Saturday."

Reifers shot a 33 on the front nine and a 32 on the back to take a one-stroke lead over OSU sophomore Pablo Martin and Southern California senior Taylor Wood. Reifers' lone bogey for the day came on the par-three seventh. He totaled eight birdies, with four on the front side and four on the back.

"I drove it well and when you drive it well, you have a lot of opportunities to score and make birdies," Reifers said. "I felt good, I hit a lot of good wedge shots and hit a lot of good putts. It's a long tournament and we just wanted to get off to a good start as a team."

Martin, who set a Crosswater course record with an eight-under 64 at the NCAA Ping Preview last September, briefly tied Reifers for the lead on the back nine, before settling for second place at 66.

Wood, one of the last players on the course, birdied the 18th hole to finish with a 66. He didn't card a single bogey and finished with six birdies.

Washington's Alex Prugh is in fourth place after firing a 65, while three players are tied for fifth at 4-under (68). Prugh had perhaps the shot of the day when he carded an eagle on the 687-yard par five 12th hole. Prugh's second shot from 102 yards took one bounce before finding the bottom of the cup.

Georgia, who finished in 20th with a 5-over 293, is the defending NCAA team champion. Washington senior James Lepp took home medalist honors at the 2005 NCAA Championships and shot a bogey-free 69 on Wednesday.

A total of 50 golfers finished in red numbers, while 12 teams came in under par. Pairings for Thursday's second round will be the same, although the teams and individuals with morning tee times in round one will hit the links in the afternoon in round two.

The championship tournament consists of 30 teams and the nation's top six individuals not on those teams. All 156 players will compete on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, while Saturday's final round is cut to the top 15 teams and top six individuals not on an advancing team. Thursday's second round is scheduled to start at 7:30 a.m.