SUGAR GROVE — Illinois State sophomore Trent Wallace shot a 1-over-par 73 in Friday’s opening round of the NCAA Division I Championship at the par-72, 7,735-yard Rich Harvest Farms.

He was in a tie for 62nd place, but more than 50 players could not complete the first round because of a weather delay. Play will resume at 6:30 a.m. Saturday, with the second round to follow starting at 7:15 a.m.

Wallace parred the first two holes, but was 4-over-par after five because of bogeys on par 3’s and a double bogey on the par-4 fourth.

But Wallace birdied the par-4 sixth, the par-5 seventh and the par-4 ninth to finish the front in 1-over 37.

Bogeys on the 10th and 11th dropped him to 3-over, but he played the rest of the back nine in 2-under, including birdies on the par-4 14th and par-5 18th. He was even-par 36 on the back.

“Trent did a great job handling the challenges of the golf course and the magnitude of the event today,” ISU coach Ray Kralis said. “The golf course demands everything, and he showed he has a game worthy of being here.

"I was so proud of him for the way he battled back from adversity midway through the opening nine with a few birdies going into the turn, and he then stayed mentally tough after a couple miscues at 10 and 11 stalled his momentum.”

Wallace finished with five birdies and eight pars. Brandon Thornberry of Mississippi leads the field with a 6-under-par 66, while Auburn’s Jacob Solomon was in second place with a 5-under-par 67.

Vanderbilt was in the lead at 8-under-par, but none of its players had completed the round. Auburn carded a 6-under 282 for the lowest among teams to complete the round.

Illinois was at 3-under heading into its final three holes. The Illini's Michael Feagles was 4-under through 14 holes.

“While you can't win it on day one, you sure can lose it,” Kralis said. “However, Trent made sure that didn't happen and played very solid golf on a course that doesn't give you much margin for error.

"This test demands that you commit to shots, accept results and stay patient all day. You have to keep the negative emotions out of the equation, which is much easier said than done, and you have to know how to handle it when the adrenaline is pumping as well. Trent answered the bell, and in the process, he is learning a great deal about himself and what he is capable of doing. He is in a great spot going into tomorrow.”

Wallace is slated to tee off in the final group of Saturday’s second round at 2:47 p.m.

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Sports Editor

Sports Editor for The Pantagraph.

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