Bacha leads men’s golf in NCAA Championship opener

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – No. 12 Auburn men’s golf opened the 2023 NCAA Championship with an 8-over 288 Friday at Grayhawk Golf Club. Junior Carson Bacha led the Auburn lineup with a 2-under 68.
At the conclusion of round one, the Tigers are in 14th place while Bacha’s performance holds up for tied sixth, individually. To make the first cut, Auburn will need to be inside the top 15 following round three on Sunday.
“I played smart, Bacha said. “Stuck to the game plan I came up with in the practice round. Stayed consistent all day and hit a lot of greens. I was able to make a few putts, which was great. Heading into tomorrow, I just want to stick to the same thing and try to continue playing well.”
Making just two bogeys on the day, Bacha utilized four birdies for the 68, and brought his season birdie total to 120. Dating back to a top-20 outing at the last year’s NCAA Championship, Bacha is shooting 355 (+5) through five career rounds at Grayhawk.
Another player that is no stranger to the event, Alex Vogelsong, carded a 1-over 71 in his return to the sport’s biggest stage. His scorecard consisted of a birdie on 4, a double on 9, a birdie on 12, a bogey 13, a birdie on 14 and a bogey on 17.
Sophomore Brendan Valdes followed Vogelsong with a 3-over 73. Valdes shot 1-under through 14 holes, however, a pair of costly doubles on 15 and 16 would see him finish above par. The Orlando, Florida product made birdie three times, bringing his season total to 149, 16 shy of breaking the program record.
Bringing up the rear for Auburn were junior J.M. Butler and freshman Reed Lotter as both men shot 6-over 76.

Copying the pairings from Friday, Vogelsong will lead off for the Orange & Blue in Saturday’s second round of stroke play, teeing off at 1:52 p.m. CT. The Tigers will tackle the back half first, playing alongside Georgia Tech and Oklahoma once more.