ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. — Making his championship debut for LSU, senior Smylie Kaufman fired a team-low 3-under par 67 in the opening round of the 2014 Southeastern Conference men’s golf championships Friday to tie for fifth place at the Seaside Course at Sea Island Golf Club.
Kaufman carded seven birdies with four bogeys to finish two shots off the pace set by South Carolina’s Matthew NeSmith and Alabama’s Bobby Wyatt on the individual leaderboard.
The 21st-ranked LSU Tigers is in sixth place at 4-over par 284 and trail No. 1-ranked Alabama by 12 shots.
Alabama, the tournament defending champion, posted a 8-under par 272 for a two-shot lead over Auburn at 6-under par 274.
1. Alabama, 272 -8; 2. Auburn, 274 -6; T3. Georgia, 277 -3; T3. South Carolina, 277 -3; 5. Arkansas, 280 E; 6. LSU, 284 +4; T7. Kentucky, 287 +7; T7. Mississippi State, 287 +7; T9. Missouri, 288 +8; T9. Vanderbilt, 288 +8; T9. Texas A&M, 288 +8; 12. Tennessee, 289 +9; T13. Florida, 292 +12; T13. Ole Miss, 292 +12.
Top 10 i8ndividuals (par 70)
T1. Matthew NeSmith, South Carolina, 65 -5; T1. Bobby Wyatt, Alabama, 65 -5; T3. Nicolas Echavarria, Arkansas, 66 -4; T3. Will Murphy, South Carolina, 66 -4; T5. Smylie Kaufman, LSU, 67 -3; T5. Niclas Carlsson, Auburn, 67 -3; T5. Robby Shelton, Alabama, 67 -3; T8. Michael Cromie, Georgia, 68 -2; T8. Matt Gilchrest, Auburn, 68 -2; T8. Cory Whitsett, Alabama, 68 -2.
T5. Smylie Kaufman, 67 -3; T31. Stewart Jolly, 72 +2; T31. Ben Taylor, 72 +2; T39. Curtis Thompson, 73 +3; T61. Zach Wright, 76 +6.
Track and field
LSU literally snatched the title out of Penn State’s hands as the Nittany Lions were already being honored as the sprint medley relay champions as the winners of the first heat with a time of 3 minutes, 18.39 seconds while the Tigers were running away with the victory in the second heat.
The Tigers took a commanding lead in the second heat after outstanding 200-meter legs by sophomore Darrell Bush and freshman Tremayne Acy, while junior Quincy Downing only extended their lead with a 47.6-second split on the 400-meter leg. With Penn State (3:18.39) already being honored on the awards podium, the Tigers needed a strong anchor leg from freshman Blair Henderson to take the title back.
Henderson delivered with a 1:48.91 split on his 800-meter anchor leg as the Tigers nipped the Nittany Lions with a winning time of 3:17.96 from the second heat to claim their third Championship of America title all-time and their first since 2010. They also won the sprint medley relay at the Penn Relays in 2008 for their first victory in the event.