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WCC Teams in Contention After Opening Rounds of NCAA Regionals

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COMPLETE RELEASES: PEPPERDINE | SAINT MARY’S

SAN BRUNO, Calif. – West Coast Conference champion Saint Mary’s and Pepperdine both are in contention after the opening round of the 2016 NCAA Regionals. The Gaels sit in seventh place after 18 holes while the Waves are tied for 11th place. 

Gonzaga’s Sean Walsh shot an even-par 72 to open play in the Tucson Regional. The 2015-16 WCC Co-Player of the Year is tied for 23rd with two rounds remaining along with San Diego’s Alex Chiarella. Santa Clara’s Hayden Shieh is tied for fifth place after an even-par 72, while BYU’s Patrick Fishburn is tied for 24th after a 2-over 74 in the Albuquerque Regional. 

The low five teams and the low individual not on those teams will advance to the NCAA Championship Finals.  Team and individual medalist titles will be decided May 27-June 1 at Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Ore. 

PEPPERDINE – NCAA FRANKLIN REGIONAL (Vanderbilt Legends Club)
FRANKLIN, Tenn. – The Pepperdine men’s golf team’s hopes of playing in the NCAA Championships got off to a rough start as the Waves are in 11th place after Monday’s first round of the NCAA Franklin Regional hosted by Vanderbilt.

The Waves shot an 8-over 296 at the par-72 Vanderbilt Legends Club and have a great deal of ground to make up. Only the top five teams will advance to nationals, and the cut line for fifth place is currently 3-under.

Tuesday’s second round will begin at 8:55 a.m. CT (6:55 a.m. PT) for the Waves, who will be paired with Georgetown and Michigan and will start on the 10th hole.

Freshman Sahith Theegala (Chino Hills, Calif./Diamond Bar HS) has bounced back nicely after a hand injury forced him to withdraw from last month’s West Coast Conference Championships. He won a U.S. Open local qualifying event last week, then shot a 2-under 70 today that puts him into a tie for 15th place. His round began with seven straight pars, then his only bogey on eight. He had no miscues the rest of the way and posted birdies on nine, 14 and 18.

The rest of the Waves did not find quite as much success. Senior Frederick Wedel (The Woodlands, Texas/The Woodlands HS) and junior Cody McManus (Phoenix, Ariz./Desert Vista HS) are tied for 46th after 3-over 75s, freshmanRoy Cootes (Rolling Hills, Calif./Palos Verdes HS) is tied for 55th at 76 and junior Robbie Geibel (Pembroke Pines, Fla./American Heritage HS/Louisville) is tied for 73rd at 80.

Wedel matched Theegala with three birdies on the day.

Pepperdine is making its 21st NCAA Regional appearance in 25 years and is trying to qualify for the NCAA Championships (May 27-June 1 in Oregon) for the ninth time in program history. 

SAINT MARY’S – NCAA TUCSON REGIONAL (Gallery Golf Club)
MARANA, Ariz. -- Sophomore Connor Blickequaled the lowest competitive round of his college career with a 4-under par 68 to pace the Saint Mary's golf team after the first day of competition at the NCAA Tucson Regional at Gallery Golf Club.

The Gaels finished the day in seventh place with a 3-over par 291 and sit three strokes behind sixth place UC Riverside and seven back of 13th ranked California.  Top-ranked Stanford owns a 9-stroke lead over second place UAB at 14-under par in the 14-team field.  Oregon and Wake Forest are in third and fourth places, respectively.

The teams return to the 7,258-yard, par 72 Gallery Golf Club's North Course tomorrow for the second round of the 54-hole event beginning at 7 a.m.  The Gaels will begin at 7 a.m. (PDT) on the 10th hole and are paired with golfers from North Florida and North Texas.

A native of Danville, Calif., Blick cruised through the front nine with five birdies to grab an early lead among the 75-golfer field.  One of his front nine highlights was a sweeping 50-foot right to left putt for birdie on the par 4 fifth hole.

After making the turn, Blick dropped a stroke with a bogey on No. 10 but went right back to 5-under with a birdie on the next hole.  He finished the final six holes with a pair of birdies, three bogeys and a par to finish his round at 4-under par - which equaled his first round score at the West Coast Conference Championships three weeks ago.

Perry Cohen played to a fairly consistent even par, recovering from a pair of early bogeys to finish his final 15 holes with three birdies, 11 birdies and a just one bogey.  The San Diego native is tied with seven golfers for 23rd place.

Pavan Sagoo is tied with eight golfers for 38th place at 3-over par 75.  Junior Hunter Rappleye is tied for 49th at 4-over par, while senior Jonathan De Los Reyes is tied for 65th at 7-over.

Saint Mary's has participated in five NCAA regional events since 2005, including three in the last four seasons.  In 2013, the Gaels finished a program-high third in the West Regional in Pullman, Wash. and advanced to the its second NCAA Championships.  SMC also qualified for the 2008 finals after finishing seventh in the West Regional in Bremerton, Wash.