McClure in Top 10 After Desert Shootout First Round

March 22, 2012

Desert Shootout First Round Get Acrobat Reader

GOODYEAR, Ariz. – Dylan McClure birdied four of his first five holes en route to an opening round 68 (-4) to finish the first day of the Desert Shootout tied for seventh place and lead Kansas men’s golf to a sixth-place standing with a 285 (-3) after 18 holes Thursday.

“Dylan got off to a great start,” said Kansas head coach Kit Grove. “He hit a pretty good shot into hole No. 1 to a front pin on a pretty firm green. He made a nice 20-footer and made another birdie on the par-5 second hole. He made a nice putt on No. 4 for birdie – a 30-footer downhill across a ridge. He was off to the races after he birdied four of his first five holes. On the back nine, he made a bunch of pars and a bogey, but he birdied the last one, so that was good.

McClure, a freshman from Justin, Texas, pointed to a couple of key shots that helped fuel his strong start.

“On No. 3, I hit a long wedge and had a really good up-and-down, which really kept it all going,” said McClure. “On Nos. 4 and 5, I made a couple of really good putts. The one on No. 4 was about a 30-foot putt that broke two different ways. It was a really lucky putt that Coach Grove and I happened to read right, and it fell for me. On No. 5, I had a 10-foot putt downhill that broke pretty hard right to left and was able to make that one as well.”

McClure’s 4-under round left him in a four-way tie for seventh place.

“It’s awesome,” said McClure, who finished 17th at the Louisiana Classics to open the spring season two weeks ago. “One of my goals for this semester is to get a top 10. I came fairly close in Louisiana, so being in this position after day one feels really good. Hopefully, I can just stay there and improve as these next two days go on.”

McClure’s 68 led Kansas on the first day, but many Jayhawks had strong opening rounds. Junior Chris Gilbert shot a 71 (-1), while fellow juniors Alex Gutesha and Paul Harris posted 73s (+1). Coach Grove was pleased with the team effort, particularly on the last hole.

“It was nice to pick up a couple shots coming into the clubhouse for a change and get some birdies on (par-5, 545-yard) No. 18,” said Grove. “Chris and Dylan knocked it on in two shots and birdied. Alex had it in the right bunker, but he hit a good bunker shot to within five feet and made the putt. Doug (Quinones) birdied the final hole for a 75, so that’s a positive thing for him going into tomorrow. After last week (15th place at the Border Olympics), you didn’t know what to expect. This is a much more scoreable golf course than last week, but you still have to go out and execute. We did a much better job of that today. We need to keep shooting around 285 every day and see where that pans out, but this is definitely a step back in the right direction.”

Kansas will tee off its second round of the tournament Friday at 10:15 a.m. The Desert Shootout will conclude with the third round Saturday.