March 30, 2012 By Andy Conli
By Andy Conli
FRESNO, Calif. - In a field filled with 18 of the top 100 golfers in collegiate golf, Fresno State junior Rufie Fessler is in first place after the opening round of the U.S. Intercollegiate in Stanford, Calif. Fresno State, as a team, sits in a tie for eighth place out of 17 teams at the 6,727-yard, par-70 Stanford Golf Course.Mike Watney said. "He is getting more and more comfortable playing at this level. He just played good, solid golf."
Fessler, a native of Bakersfield, Calif., fired a 5-under, 65 to eclipse his previous low round of 67. He shot out to quick start by sinking back-to-back birdies on his first two holes, the 10th and 11th, and knocked in two more on the 15th and 16th. Fessler recorded a 4-under, 31 over his first nine holes.
On the turn, Fessler birdied the 526-yard, par-5 1st but tripped up a bit by posting a bogey on the par-4 5th. He recovered by firing his sixth and final birdie on the par-5 7th to become the first Bulldog since Bhavik Patel won the USD Callaway Invitational in 2010 to be in the lead after a round.
Freshman Keenan Nelson shot a 2-over, 72 to sit in a tie for 37th while Nate Jessup is one stroke behind him at 3-over and tied for 47th. Junior Jack Mulroy overcame a shaky back-nine to record all pars on the front-nine and finish the day at 5-over, 75, tied for 69th. Brian Sunker is in a tie for 77th after carding a 6-over, 76.
The Bulldogs are tied with No. 9 San Diego State, winners of their last four tournaments, and San Francisco. Every team ahead of them, except for Nevada, is ranked in the top 15 according to Golffstat.com. No. 8 Oregon holds the lead at 8-under while No. 6 UCLA is five strokes back at 3-under.
The 'Dogs return to action Saturday to compete in the second of three rounds at the U.S. Intercollegiate with tee times scheduled to start at 8 a.m. PST.
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