May 21, 2005
NASHVILLE, Tenn.-- The 13th-ranked Tennessee men's golf team qualified for the NCAA Championships after a second-place finish at the East Regional with a scorecard of 282-276-279--837. The tournament was played at the Golf Club of Tennessee (par 71, 6,864 yards). This marks the first time since 2003 the Vols have qualified for the Championships and 10th time in the program's history. The tournament will be held at Caves Valley Golf Course in Baltimore, Md., June 1-4.
Leading the Vols to their highest regional finish in program history was senior Ross McGowan. McGowan fired a 66-68-71--205, which was his highest 54-hole score of the year, to tie for fifth. His round opened on the back nine with a bogey on 10 followed by a birdie on 11. He slipped with another bogey on 13, but came back with three birdies on Nos. 15, 17 and 18 to make the turn at 2-under-par. After five consecutive pars he slipped with back-to-back bogeys on six and seven before parring the remaining two holes.
Senior John Scott Rattan joined McGowan in the top 10 in a tie for eighth with a 70-68-68--206. Rattan's finish and 54-hole score are both season bests. After carding a bogey on the eleventh hole, he settled down with three birdies on 13, 15 and 17 to make the turn at 2-under-par. He recorded back-to-back birdies on four and five, as well as another birdie on seven before bogeys on eight and nine to close out the tournament.
Next for the Vols was senior David Skinns with a 67-69-72--208, tying him for 14th. After a 2-over-par 37 that included a birdie, a bogey and a double bogey, he fought back the final nine holes with a 1-under-par 35 that included three birdies and two bogeys.
Freshman Philip Pettitt continued his improved play from the first round with a 69 to go with a 79-75 for a 223, tying him for 92nd. Pettitt opened play with three pars before a bogey on 13. He bogeyed 16 before a birdie on 17 took him to 1-over-par where he made the turn. Following a bogey on three he returned to 1-over-par with a birdie on five. His highlight of the tournament came on the par-5 seventh hole where he recorded a double eagle to take him to 2-under-par.
Fellow freshman Ben Spickard rounded out the Tennessee contingent in a tie for 96th with an 82-71-71--224. For the round he recorded four birdies and four bogeys for his second round of even par.
The fifth-seeded Wake Forest Demon Deacons took top team honors with a 271-283-281--835. Finishing third behind the sixth-seeded Vols was top seed Georgia with an 843. Third-seeded Florida and 10th-seeded Georgia State tied for fourth to round out the top five teams. Also qualifying for the championships were the eighth seed Alabama, the second seed Georgia Tech, the 11th seed Coastal Carolina, fourth seed Duke and seventh seed Georgia Southern.
Claiming top individual medallist honors was Dustin Johnson of Coastal Carolina with a 65-69-64--198. Rhys Davies of East Tennessee State was second with a 66-65-68--199.
The Vols now set their sights on the NCAA Championships. Tennessee's highest finish in the finals came in 1980 when it finished sixth. The Vols last appearance in 2003 saw them finish 23rd.
|13.||East Tennessee State||281-285-289--855|
|1.||Dustin Johnson, Coastal Carolina||65-69-64--198|
|2.||Rhys Davies, East Tennessee State||66-65-58--199|
|3.||Matt Every, Florida||71-63-69--203|
|Sean Moore, Wake Forest||67-68-68--203|
|5.||Michael Schachner, Duke||69-63-72--204|
|8th-t||John Scott Rattan||70-68-68--206|