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With its senior leader back in fold, Sam Houston State starts strong at NCAAs

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – You might say that Will Holcomb has some unfinished enterprise.

No, actually. The Sam Houston State senior didn’t full his final two tournaments. On Monday, he withdrew halfway by U.S. Open Final Qualifying after heavy rain suspended the 36-hole occasion till Tuesday. Before that, he was pressured out of the ultimate spherical at the NCAA Stillwater Regional after his roommate examined optimistic for COVID-19. He was second on the leaderboard at the time, too.

“That’s a weird feeling … I don’t know, it just doesn’t feel good,” Holcomb stated. “You’re not in the same mindset and nothing feels the same as finishing a tournament, whether it was going to be good or bad or indifferent.”

Luckily, Holcomb has an opportunity for redemption. The Bearkats, taking part in with no margin for error, delivered an inspiring end at regionals to qualify for his or her first NCAA Championship and preserve Holcomb’s school profession alive. Now back at full power, Sam Houston State opened nationals with a 2-under 278, the second-best rating of the morning wave Friday at Grayhawk Golf Club.

“Our goal is to just try and shoot under par every day,” Bearkats head coach Brandt Kieschnick stated.

It’s rather a lot simpler with Holcomb atop the lineup. After driving back to Huntsville from Stillwater together with his dad and mom, Holcomb stated he’s been examined what has appeared like “400-500 times” in the previous 10 days. All have been adverse, and Holcomb, who skilled lung points as a toddler, hasn’t come near having any signs. He even ran 8 miles the day after regionals.

“Thankfully, he has a halo around him,” Kieschnick stated.

In the blistering desert warmth on Friday, Holcomb continued to look comfy. His driver didn’t cooperate on his first 9, Grayhawk’s back facet, as Holcomb yanked all however two drives only a tad left. But the gritty senior went bogey-free and turned in 1-under 35. On the entrance, he had only one hiccup, a bogey on No. 5, however added three extra birdies to open in 2-under 68.

“It was cool watching the round come to me,” Holcomb stated.

The affable Holcomb is as mature as they arrive – he’s the one married man competing this week. He’s additionally fairly talkative. He stated he loved conversing Friday with not solely his taking part in opponents, Louisville’s Matthias Schmid and Georgia Tech’s Christo Lamprecht, but in addition Yellow Jackets head coach Bruce Heppler. There was additionally time to talk with some Titleist reps about summer season gear. Oh, and Holcomb took perpetually to come back out of the scoring tent, not as a result of there was a problem however as a result of he had beginning gabbing with the official, who was from the Country Club of Charleston, the place Holcomb has performed in the Azalea Amateur.

Kieschnick additionally slots in time for his workforce captain to deal with the workforce earlier than every spherical. Holcomb’s widespread theme this week is one thing that he wears on his wrist: “Humble over hype.”

Asked if there was ever an acceptable time for the alternative, Holcomb didn’t hesitate.

“Maybe if we won,” he stated. “I don’t know, we were really hyped last week. But we’re still humble, and like we talked about last night, we want to write our own story and spoil somebody’s week.”

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