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Wilhoit prepares to putt

SIU's Peyton Wilhoit prepares to putt in a tournament. 

SIU Media Services

Southern Illinois men's golfer Peyton Wilhoit is 2-over par and tied for 28th place out of 75 golfers after the first round of play at the NCAA Regionals on a windy day in Norman, Oklahoma on Monday.

Rounds two and three will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the top individual competitor, who is not a member of one of the top-five teams, will advance to nationals. The top five teams after day one are Oklahoma, Auburn, Arkansas, North Florida and San Diego State. Playing on their home course, the Sooners (-5) are the only team under par at the 7,452-yard Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club.

Wilhoit (+2) recorded 10 pars, three birdies and five bogeys on the day and is seven strokes behind the leader, Oklahoma's Blaine Hale (-5). He is just four strokes behind the top individuals, Nevada's Corey Eddings (-2) and SMU's McClure Meissner (-2) for the coveted individual NCAA Championships slot.

"This isn't a course, especially with today's windy conditions, where you can just go out and expect to be able to fire at every flagstick and make a ton of birdies," said SIU head coach Justin Fetcho. "There are birdies out there and you have to pick and choose your spots. Peyton putted well all day long and if he sharpens up his iron game a little bit, he will give himself chances for birdies."

A junior from Searcy, Arkansas and the No. 166-ranked player in the country heading into the tournament, Wilhoit is ahead of eight players who are ranked in the top 75 nationally by Golfstat.

"That's what he's been able to do all year long and this is another opportunity to showcase his game against this kind of field," Fetcho said. "Today, he had to grind it out, he just wasn't quite as sharp as he normally is with his irons, or he could have been even better than what he shot. He's not afraid to step foot and play against these guys and has come here with the mindset that he wants to move on to the national championship and believes he can."

Wilhoit has a 9:42 a.m. tee time for today's second round.

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