Missouri men's golf starts slow at the SEC Championships

Friday, April 19, 2013 | 10:13 p.m. CDT; updated 4:28 p.m. CDT, Saturday, April 20, 2013

The No. 32 Missouri men's golf team struggled in its first-ever round at the SEC Championship on Friday, tallying a 12-over-par 292 and ending the day in ninth place.

Junior Hunter Kraus carded a 1-over 71 to lead the Tigers while fellow junior Emilio Cuartero fired a 3-over 73 at the Seaside Course at Sea Island Golf Club in Sea Island, Ga.

Jace Long, a member of the Ben Hogan Award watch list honoring college golf's best male golfer, struggled on the back nine and finished with a 4-over 74. Teammate Jacob Fair also recorded a 4-over 74 and Ryan Zech's 5-over 75 finished off the scoring for Missouri on a humid, sticky day on the tight oceanside course.

The Tigers are 17 shots off the pace set by No. 19 Auburn with two days remaining. With its high ranking, Missouri is confident that it will be playing in the NCAA Tournament in May.

"We feel pretty good about where we are at moving forward," said Missouri coach Mark Leroux after a recent practice. "The (SEC Championship) is a warm-up event with a national championship-caliber field, so we're gonna get a good idea of where we are at down there."

Missouri resumes play Saturday morning when Zech tees off at 6:30 a.m.

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