May 15, 2009
Scores were considerably lower Friday at the NCAA Division I Men's Golf Northeast Regional, and Tennessee played right along in pushing its lead to five strokes over Alabama and six over Virginia with 18 holes to play.
Now not only are the Vols attempting to finish among the top five this week and qualify for the upcoming NCAA Championships, they suddenly find themselves vying for their first-ever NCAA regional crown.
"That's true, and I think it's good for our team to be in this position," UT head coach Jim Kelson said. "Anytime you have a chance to win is exciting, and our guys are enjoying the opportunity."
The Vols came closest to a regional championship in 2005, losing by two strokes to Wake Forest in Nashville. Alabama and Virginia also are vying for their first-ever regional crowns, so it will take another complete effort from the Vols on Saturday.
"It's going to be fun," Kelson said. "We just played solid Friday and that's what we needed to have happen. Everybody got off to a good start and we played a solid round. We're doing what we need to do."
UT, seeded fourth out of 14 teams at Galloway National Golf Club on the South Jersey coast, shot 3-over-par 287 in Friday's second round to stand at 583. Tennessee's second 18-hole score was nine shots better than its Thursday effort and was the afternoon's second-best team score, trailing only Alabama's 1-over 285.
The Crimson Tide, seeded second in this regional, improved two positions to second place at 20 over par 588. Virginia (589), coached by former Vols assistant Bowen Sargent, is third, followed by Wake Forest (594) and Illinois (595). Sixth-place Colorado State is at 599, or 16 strokes behind the Vols. Top-seeded Clemson stands ninth at 609.
Darren Renwick continues to battle for his first collegiate individual championship. The freshman nearly matched his first-round score, shooting a 1-over 72 to settle into a tie for second at 1-over 143. Renwick birdied three of the four par-5s -- Nos. 9, 11 and 16 -- but couldn't quite offset bogeys at five, seven, 13 and the 249-yard, par-3 17th.
Chris Paisley responded with a 1-under-par 70, eight shots better than his opening 78. After a bogey at No. 2, Paisley bagged his first birdie of the tournament on the par-4 third hole. He birdied again at the seventh, then birdied 11 and 12 to improve to 3 under for the day. Bogeys at Nos. 13 and 16 dropped Paisley into a tie for 16th at 6-over 148.
Robin Wingardh shot a 1-over-par 72 to improve 17 positions on the leaderboard. Bogeys at four and eight were offset with a front-nine closing birdie at the par-5 ninth. The sophomore birdied the 10th and 12th holes around a bogey at No. 11 before ending with a bogey at the 486-yard, par-4 18th. Wingardh, tied for 27th at 10-over 152, hasn't finished outside the top 20 since early February, six tournaments ago.
"The last hole was a pretty tricky pin, but we did drop a couple more strokes there at the end than we wanted to that's for sure," Kelson said.
David Holmes stayed in the top 10 with a 73 to equal his Thursday score. The Knoxville junior tasted first place on the leaderboard for the second day in a row, climbing to 2 under par through 13 holes. Holmes opened with a birdie, then after a bogey at 11 responded with consecutive birdies at 12 and 13 before tumbling with a stretch of four bogeys over his final five holes. Holmes is tied for ninth at 4-over 146.
Garrick Porteous improved his score by one stroke over Thursday with a 2-over 73, keeping him in a tie for 13th at 5-over 147. The freshman birdied Nos. 1 and 9 to offset a double bogey at the seventh. He birdied twice more on the back nine -- 11 and 16 -- but carded four straight bogeys in between.
All five Vols finished the day scoring within three strokes (70-73) of one another.
"We have been really consistent from top to bottom and it's hard to beat that," Kelson said. "It's something we have lacked this year, so I think it is a good sign. We just need to do the same thing Saturday."
Kent State's John Hahn eagled his final hole Friday to swipe the individual lead, capping a 4-under-par 67 that left him even for the championship. Renwick and Wisconsin's Dan Woltman (69), competing as an individual qualifier, are tied for second place one stroke back, and one stroke ahead of Clemson's Kyle Stanley (72) in fourth.
The low five teams and the low individual not on those teams move on to the NCAA Championships on May 26-30 at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio. Playoffs and tie-breakers will be used Saturday, if necessary, to determine advancement to the finals.
The Vols are paired with Alabama and Virginia for Saturday's final round, teeing off on the No. 1 hole at 9:10 a.m. Eastern time. High temperatures are expected to reach the mid-70s, with winds increasing to better than 15 mph and a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms.
|4.||Wake Forest||297-297--594 (+26)|
|6.||Colorado State||309-290--599 (+31)|
|7.||Kent State||312-289--601 (+33)|
|10.||Penn State||319-301--620 (+52)|
|11.||Virginia Commonwealth||315-306--621 (+53)|
|12.||Coastal Carolina||319-303--622 (+54)|
|13.||Sacred Heart||322-311--633 (+65)|
|1.||John Hahn, Kent State||75-67--142 (E)|
|t-2.||Darren Renwick, TENNESSEE||71-72--143 (+1)|
|t-2.||Dan Woltman, Wisconsin||74-69--143 (+1)|
|4.||Kyle Stanley, Clemson||72-72--144 (+2)|
|5.||Four players tied at||145 (+3)|
|t-2.||Darren Renwick||71-72--143 (+1)|
|t-9.||David Holmes||73-73--146 (+4)|
|t-13.||Garrick Porteous||74-73--147 (+5)|
|t-16.||Chris Paisley||78-70--148 (+6)|
|t-27.||Robin Wingardh||80-72--152 (+10)|
|2009 NCAA DIVISION I MEN'S GOLF REGIONAL -- THIRD-ROUND PAIRINGS (Galloway, N.J.)|
|1st Tee, 8:20-9 a.m. -- Wake Forest, Illinois, Colorado State|
|1st Tee, 9:10-9:50 a.m. -- TENNESSEE, Alabama, Virginia|
|10th Tee, 8-8:40 a.m. -- Sacred Heart, Columbia and individual qualifiers|
|10th Tee, 8:50-9:30 a.m. -- Penn State, Virginia Commonwealth and Coastal Carolina|
|10th Tee, 9:40-10:20 a.m. -- Kent State, Minnesota and Clemson|