Warrior Princeville Makai Invitational
Sunday, Oct. 29 – Tuesday, Oct. 31 • 54 Holes
Princeville, Hawaii • Princeville Makai Golf Club • par 72 • 7,223 yards
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PRINCEVILLE, HI – Sam Houston State fired an opening-round 8-under, 280, and sits tied for fifth with Washington through 18 holes at the hotly-contested Warrior Princeville Makai Invitational on Sunday from the par-72, 7,223-yard Princeville Makai Golf Club.
Four of Sam Houston’s starting five carded an even-par or better including Noah Steele who is three strokes back of the lead at 4-under, 68, in 11th. The sophomore tapped in five birdies on the afternoon to post his best round of the fall season one tournament after capturing a 14th place finisher.
Austen Christiansen is just one stroke behind in a 10-way tie for 13th thanks to a 3-under, 69. The result matched his season-best under par and marked the lowest score since his opening-round 67 at the Ram Masters Invitational on Sept. 18. The junior birdies four of his last six holes.
The tandem of Steele and Christiansen currently stand ahead of nine top-100 golfers including defending national champion Braden Thornberry (2-under, 70) of Ole Miss who is tied for 23rd.
Fortieth-ranked Louisville paces the field after one around, boasting a 22-under, 266, and has three golfers in the top five. Fifteenth-ranked Missouri is four strokes back (270) followed by No. 50 San Diego State (274). Twentieth-ranked UCLA (279) is one stroke up on the Kats.
A season ago, Sam Houston captured runner-up at the event. This go-around, at least early on, the squad is having an impressive showing against the premier 20-team field. The Bearkats are one stroke up on No. 5 Wake Forest (281) and two ahead of No. 38 Ole Miss (282).
Jake McCrory also got off to a hot start, carding a 1-under, 71, to finish in a 10-way tie for 34th. The senior, who has gone under-par five times this fall, is followed by Levi Valadez at even-par, 72, in a 10-way tie for 44th. William Holcomb (74) is 2-over and is part of a nine-way tie for 70th.
Tuesday’s shotgun start gets underway at 1 p.m. CT (8 a.m. locally) with Steele teeing off on No. 4; McCrory and Christiansen on No. 5 as well as Holcomb and Valadez on No. 6. The Makai Golf Club has been rated as Golf Digest's No. 1 Golf Course in Hawai'i and one of America's Top 100 Greatest Courses.
Head coach Brandt Kieschnick on the opening-round 8-under…
“It was pretty scoreable today. Not much wind. We figured there would be some birdies. We finished the round really strong. All-in-all, 8-under is a good round. We’re still in it and in the top-five in a deep field. We know we can shoot low every game. We put ourselves in it. You can’t win on the first day but we definitely put ourselves in a good position.”
Head coach Brandt Kieschnick on some strong individual play…
“We feel like we’re one of the teams to beat as well. We know if we play the way we’re supposed to, it can lead to a lot under par. These guys are confident. They are playing at a high level. They’re talented golfers. They believe if they play good, we’ll have a chance to win.”
Head coach Brandt Kieschnick on the hot start from Noah Steele…
“It was a stress-free flawless round. He didn’t make any mistakes. He made birdies where he needed to. He had good mental toughness. That’s the kind of golf we want to play. That’s what Bearkat golf is all about.”