ALBURQUERQUE, N.M. -- Collecting a cumulative two-under, 286, No. 11 Arizona State closed first round play at the 2016 NCAA Albuquerque Regional positioned atop the leaderboard. In a highly touted field of 14 featuring eight programs ranked within the top-50 nationally, the Sun Devils represented the only participating squad to garner a round under-par.
Paired with sunny, but rather windy conditions the par-72, 7555-yard UNM Championship Course played at a challenging 75.4 average. The Sun Devils who seek to advance to the national finals by virtue of finishing within the top-5 in the region, currently hold a three-stroke advantage over No. 15 South Florida who closed the round in the two spot.
Pacing the Maroon and Gold, Senior Jon Rahm, two weeks removed from earning Pac-12 Champion honors in Salt Lake City, fired a three-under 69 to place himself in a two-way tie for the tournament lead. Posting five birdies to two bogeys on his round, the Ben Hogan Award Finalist added five marks to his collegiate-best 157 birdie tally.
Senior Max Rottluff rallied back after opening his round to the tune of consecutive bogeys on holes one and two, playing the remainder of the day at three-under, to register a one-under 71. Closing his round much in contrast to how he begun, the senior finished strong eagling the par-5 18th, to place in him in tie for fifth, just two shots back of Rahm.
Finding himself among the top-10 with Rahm and Rottluff, junior Jared du Toit signed off on a strong even-par 72. In a round highlighted by immense highs and lows, the junior carded an eagle and three birdies to three bogeys and a double.
Nicolo Galletti sits very much in contention with his fellow teammates after posting a two-over, 74. Courtesy of his solid outing the junior is positioned in a tie for 24th. Rounding out the Arizona State lineup, Alberto Sanchez carded a five-over 77.