St. George, Utah -- North Dakota junior Jeremy Kirk carded a 74 (+2) and is tied for 15th after the opening round of the Pizza Hut-Pat Hicks Invitational played Monday at the Sunbrook Golf Course. Kirk paced the Fighting Hawks with three birdies as they were under the direction of head coach Matt Stricker for the first time in tournament play.
"The greens were tough on us today," Stricker said after the round. "That's where we gave some strokes back. I knew putting would be one of the toughest challenges of being out on a course for the first time this spring."
Kirk's 74 was his second best round of the season, while classmate Jordan Smith posted an 80 (+8) during his spring opener. The remainder of Stricker's lineup all were making some sort of debut on Monday. JUCO-transfer Ryan Riihinen joined the team following the fall semester and carded an 84 (+12) during his Fighting Hawks' debut. Sophomore Patrick Traynor sat out the fall with an injury and returned to action with an 86 (+14).
Senior Jack McClintock participated in only one event during the fall because of injury and posted an 87 in his return to the top spot in the lineup. McClintock carded three rounds in the 70's at the UNO Invitational before missing the team's final two tournaments of the fall.
Utah Valley holds a slim one-stroke lead on Utah State in the team standings. The Wolverines fired a 281 (-7) with three players posting scorers below par on the par-72 layout. Utah State's Chase Lansford built a three-stroke lead in the race for medalist honors thanks to an opening-round 64 (-8).
UND will conclude the 36-hole event with second-round play on Tuesday.
Pizza Hut-Pat Hicks Invitational (First Round Results)
|1.||Utah Valley||281 (-7)|
|2.||Utah State||282 (-6)|
|3.||Southern Utah||290 (+2)|
|4.||Weber State||292 (+4)|
|5.||Morehead State||298 (+10)|
|6.||Fairleigh Dickinson||304 (+16)|
|7.||Western Illinois||307 (+19)|
|8.||Northern Iowa||317 (+29)|
|9.||North Dakota||324 (+36)|
UND Individuals (First Round Results)
|t15.||Jeremy Kirk||74 (+2)|
|t41.||Jordan Smith||80 (+8)|
|t51.||Ryan Riihinen||84 (+12)|
|53.||Patrick Traynor||86 (+14)|
|54.||Jack McClintock||87 (+15)|
-- UND --