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College golf: Locals look to stay focused

Homa tied for 34th, MacArthur in tie for 134th at NCAA tourney

Posted: June 1, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: June 1, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

On a course like Karsten Creek, home of the 2011 NCAA Division I College Men's Golf Championships, it's about damage control.

Representing the University of California, Berkeley, sophomore Max Homa exemplified that as much as anyone.

The former Valencia High standout shot an opening-round 73 on Tuesday at the par-72 course in Stillwater, Okla. to put him in a tie for 34th place.

Other than a bogey on the first hole and a triple bogey on No. 13, Homa's scorecard was unblemished.

"You just have to understand that everyone is going to make mistakes," Homa said. "You just have to go with the mentality that you're not going to play perfect."

Another former Foothill League star, Pepperdine's Johnny MacArthur, didn't fair as well in his first-ever NCAA Championship, shooting a 9-over 81 and putting him in a tie for 134th.

The Hart graduate said his day started and stopped with tee shots.

"If you hit it in the fairway, you're good," MacArthur said. "But if you hit it in the rough, you're dead."

Unlike Homa, who is playing in his second NCAA Championship and has competed in multiple U.S. Amateur Championships, MacArthur wasn't accustomed to the relatively large galleries and the talented field.

"It was definitely a learning experience," MacArthur said. "I've never been in the National Championships, but I had a lot of fun even though I didn't play well."

As a team, California finished day 1 of the four-day tournament tied for 14th place among 30 schools, with a team score of 12-over. Homa was the second-best finisher on the team.

MacArthur was fifth-best for Pepperdine, which is in 28th place at 21-over.

Stroke play lasts three days. The top eight teams will then compete in match play. A champion will be crowned on Sunday.

Even with the struggles of some of his teammates in the first round, Homa isn't ready to give in. After all, he held it down to finish 1-under par after the triple-bogey 13th.

If it weren't for that hole, he'd be tied for fifth place individually.

As for MacArthur, his approach for the next two days is simple.

"Shoot even par," MacArthur said of his strategy. "Go out there and try to shoot 72. (Even par) is real good. Maybe even a couple under par."

Both teams will be gunning for Georgia Tech, which holds the one-day lead of 5-under.

"On a hard golf course like this, you're never out of it," Homa said. "Two straight good days can get you right back in it."

Homa will tee off at 12:40 p.m. local time today and MacArthur will follow at 1:50 p.m.

 

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