April 1, 2012
The Masters starts Thursday, but the Insperity Augusta State Invitational provided Tennessee and the rest of a stacked collegiate field a good gauge of what upcoming NCAA regional competition might look like.
The Vols finished strong to place sixth overall, or right in the middle of 10 teams ranked among the Golfstat.com top 50 entering the weekend. Garrick Porteous led the way with a final-round, 6-under-par 66 to tie for sixth individually at Forest Hills Golf Club.
"I had struggled hitting the ball the last two tournaments," said Porteous, who finished at 9-under 207. "I worked really hard back in Knoxville and it all came together quite nicely as I hit the ball well all week.
"I just tried to give myself a decent chance on every hole to make a putt for birdie. I was pleased with how I hit it and, obviously, the putts fell."
Tennessee closed with a 2-under 286 to finish at 10-under 854 for its best scoring total of the year. The Vols trailed five ranked teams and placed ahead of five others.
Top-ranked Texas defeated two-time defending NCAA champion and host Augusta State in a two-hole playoff for the team title after both teams tied at 26-under 838. Illinois (846), Baylor (852) and TCU (852) rounded out the top five. TCU's Julien Brun claimed medalist honors at 14-under-par 202.
"Garrick really played fantastic golf, and it was great to see him and some of our players gain some confidence as we head to Yale."
The Vols also picked up nine important wins against Division I competition to just five losses, improving their Division I season record to 54-48-1, or six wins above the magic .500 mark required for NCAA postseason consideration.
In addition to Porteous, Jay Vandeventer shot 72, Keddie 73 and Rick Lamb and Darren Renwick each posted 75. All but Keddie had season-low tournament scores, and the sophomore's tie for 34th was his best finish of the spring.
"I hit a good drive and then hit a 4-iron from about 225 yards to 10 feet and made the putt," Porteous said of his second eagle this season. "I just dropped it in there and it was a good feeling."
Porteous said this week's environment will pay dividends at the upcoming SEC and NCAA tournaments.
"It was a really good field and it gives us a bit of confidence. Everyone is developing their games in the right way, which gives us encouragement going forward."
Vandeventer was 3 over par through seven holes Sunday before rallying with three birdies down the stretch to shoot even-par 72. The junior birdied the ninth, 12th and 17th holes to tie for 14th place at 5-under 211.
Lamb had a pair of birdies and Renwick one birdie en route to their 75s. Lamb finished at 3-over 219 to tie for 48th place, while Renwick was 6-over 222 and tied for 61st.
All 16 tournament teams are invited to Monday's Masters practice round.
"It's a nice treat and always nice to go there," Porteous said.
Tennessee returns to action Saturday for the one-day, 36-hole Yale Spring Opener at one of the nation's top collegiate golf facilities, the Course at Yale.
|T-1.||Texas *||282-277-279--838 (-26)|
|T-1.||Augusta State||283-276-279--838 (-26)|
|T-7.||South Carolina||284-285-289--858 (-6)|
|T-7.||Virginia Tech||293-284-281--858 (-6)|
|9.||Oklahoma State||290-284-286--860 (-4)|
|T-10.||Coastal Carolina||287-284-290--861 (-3)|
|15.||Georgia State||292-290-290--872 (+8)|
|16.||USC Aiken||298-287-288--873 (+9)|
|*Won on second playoff hole.|
|1.||Julien Brun, TCU||68-65-69--202 (-14)|
|2.||Dylan Frittelli, Texas||68-67-68--203 (-13)|
|T-3.||Taylor Floyd, Augusta State||67-67-71--205 (-11)|
|T-3.||Brendan Gillins, Augusta State||70-69-66--205 (-11)|
|5.||Jordan Spieth, Texas||72-68-66--206 (-10)|
|T-6.||Garrick Porteous||73-68-66--207 (-9)|
|T-14.||Jay Vandeventer||70-69-72--211 (-5)|
|T-34.||Danny Keddie||74-70-73--217 (+1)|
|T-48.||Rick Lamb||74-70-75--219 (+3)|
|T-61.||Darren Renwick||76-71-75--222 (+6)|