The following day, Aztecs whittled an eye-popping 17 strokes off their opening day performance to assume sole possession of second place, a position they would hold for the remainder of the tournament.
After Day 1 of the NCAA National Championships, 10th-ranked SDSU is about to find out whether another comeback is in the cards.
The two-time defending MW champion Aztecs shot an 8-over par 292 to finish in 12th place on Tuesday as the NCAA Championships got underway at the par-71, 7,292-yard Rivera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
"Overall, it was a good day," said Aztecs head coach Ryan Donovan, who on Tuesday was tabbed as one of six finalists for the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) Dave Williams Award that recognizes the national coach of the year. "We have 54 holes to complete the stroke play portion of the NCAAs and we're seven in back of the lead. I think we're going to get off to a good start in the morning, the greens will be pure for us and we'll put up a good number tomorrow."
Seniors Alex Kang and J.J. Spaun, who finished 10th and second, respectively, at the Stanford Regional, both posted opening-day scores of 1-over 72 and sit in a 19-way tie for 27th. Both notched three birdies on the day. Junior Tom Berry, who is in a 16-way tie for 46th, is one shot behind Kang and Spaun after carding a 1-over 73.
SDSU is making its first back-to-back trip to the championships since NCAA regional play began in 1989, and the first time overall since qualifying 11 consecutive years from 1974-84.
The championships consist of 54 holes of stroke play with one 18-hole round played each day. The individual national champion will be crowned at the conclusion of stroke play on Thursday, while the top eight teams advance to match play. The national title will be determined between the top two teams on Sunday.
No. 2-ranked Alabama leads the team standings heading into Day 2 after shooting a 1-over 285. The individual leader is UCLA's Anton Arboleda, who turned in an opening-day round of 4-under 67.
Meanwhile, TCU carded a 15-over 299 and will begin second-round play on Wednesday in a five-way tie for 24th in the 30-team field.
The No. 36-ranked Horned Frogs, who qualified for the NCAA Championships after posting a fifth-place finish at the Ann Arbor Regional earlier this month, were paced by standout freshman Julien Brun. The MW Freshman of the Year posted four birdies in the opening round and shot a 1-over 72 to share 27th place with Kang and Spaun.
Senior Johan de Beer, who is making his third career appearance at the national tournament, and sophomore Ian Phillips both finished at 4-over 75 and will tee off on Wednesday in a 17-way tie for 81st place.
TCU has qualified for the NCAA Championships three times in the last four years and 16 times overall. This is the third consecutive season and ninth time in league history that multiple men's golf teams are representing the Mountain West at the NCAA Championships.
Live scoring for the national championship can be found at NCAA.com.