The Saline Courier Weekend - - SPORTS -

sea­son and his fifth over his last eight rounds. His open­ing round ties for 14thbest by a Ra­zor­back at an NCAA Cham­pi­onship, fol­low­ing scores of 64 (Nico­las Echavar­ria in 2003), 65 (John Daly in 1986), 67 (two times) and 68 (nine times).

Perico played with two other in­di­vid­ual qual­i­fiers and the trio was in first place and tied for sec­ond head­ing into the 18th hole. Utah’s Kyler Dun­kle had a par on the fi­nal hole and was the club­house leader with a 3-un­der-par 69. Perico and West­ern Ken­tucky’s Billy Tom Sar­gent each had a bo­gey on the fi­nal hole and were tied for sixth with a

1-un­der-par 71 when they com­pleted play.

“It is al­ways dis­ap­point­ing to bo­gey the last hole,” Perico said. “I don’t think I played my best but a 71 on this course is al­ways good. I should be in good po­si­tion af­ter every­one is done to­day. Some of the best play­ers in the coun­try are here so be­ing in con­tention af­ter day one is good.”

Perico’s and his play­ing part­ners all led at var­i­ous points dur­ing their round.

“How great was that,” stated Arkansas Head Coach Brad Mc­makin. “To have those three guys play a com­bined 5-un­der par – on this course – is phe­nom­e­nal. It was fun to watch. They re­ally fed off each other and the crowd fol­low­ing them.”

Perico got off to a hot

start with birdies on holes 2, 3 and 6. He dropped a shot on hole 9 and fell to 1-un­der af­ter a bo­gey on the par-3 15th. Perico re­sponded with a par on 14, a birdie on 15 and made two great runs at birdie on holes 16 and 17 be­fore set­tling for par on both. He fin­ished with a bo­gey on the par-4 18th to fin­ish at 69.

“I was cruis­ing a lit­tle

when I got back to 2-un­der,” Perico said. “I only had two 3-putts and un­for­tu­nately one was on 18. My short game was sharp and I putted re­ally good. It just got sloppy at cer­tain points. The way I played I should have shot lower.”

Perico, Sar­gent and Dun­kle will teed off at 2:22 p.m. on Satur­day and start on the 10th hole.

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