May 26, 2009
Tennessee cracked the magical top eight Tuesday at the NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championships. Now the trick is to stay right there over the next two rounds.
The Vols posted a 10-over-par 294 and stand in a three-way tie for sixth after 18 holes at the Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio.
Like regional competition, teams are jockeying this week for position inside the top eight because the 2009 championships feature a new twist -- team champion determined via match play for the first time since 1964. The top eight squads after 54 holes of stroke play advance to match play beginning with Friday's quarterfinals and semifinals. The championship match is Saturday.
"That's everybody's goal over the first three days, without question," UT head coach Jim Kelson said of reaching the match-play format. "We just need to keep plugging along and playing solid."
Oklahoma State and Georgia share the first-day lead at 4-over-par 288. Chattanooga posted a morning round of 8-over 292 for third place, with Washington and San Diego knotted in fourth at 9-over 293. Joining Tennessee in the sixth position is Arizona State and Ohio State, followed by Michigan (296) in ninth.
David Holmes of led the way individually for Tennessee, firing a 1-under 70 that has the Knoxvillian just one shot off the lead in a tie for fourth place. Robin Wingardh (73), Chris Paisley (75) and Darren Renwick (76) also scored for the Vols, while Garrick Porteous just missed contributing with a 77.
Despite calmer conditions in the morning, there were just six individual scores of even par or better among the early tee times, compared to nine in the afternoon. But few teams survived the Inverness gauntlet of holes 3-7, which Tennessee faced over its second nine holes of play. The Vols were among the overall leaders for most of the day leading up to that point.
"That was probably as tough a stretch of holes in college golf," Kelson said of the three par 4s and two par 3s. "It was very demanding.
"We had a terrific round going and we just made a lot of bogeys on that stretch like everybody else in the field. It would have been nice to save a few more shots, but all in all it was a solid start. It's something we can hopefully build on."
One of those continuing to build on a brilliant season is Holmes, who sent immediate word that his play of late wasn't fading. Starting on the 10th tee, the junior birdied three straight holes before cooling with a bogey-6 at No. 13. He answered that with a birdie at the 16th hole to finish his first nine in 33 strokes. Three bogeys over a four-hole stretch between Nos. 4-7 dropped Holmes to even par, but he rallied with a birdie at the par-4 finishing hole to post his 10th round this season of par or better.
"David played a great round of golf," Kelson said. "He started off with three birdies and really played super. It was great to see and, obviously, huge for our team."
Wingardh didn't start quite as fast as Holmes, but four birdies over his first 11 holes had the Swedish sophomore alone atop the leaderboard at 4 under par. He dropped six shots, however, over his final seven holes, including a painful double bogey at No. 5 to settle into a tie for 29th at 2-over 73.
Paisley struggled early, bogeying three of his opening five holes. But he offset one of those miscues with a birdie at the par-4 15th and had a string of five straight pars before doubling the par-3 third hole. Another bogey followed at the fourth before the senior birdied No. 8 to close at 4-over 75 for a 56th-place tie.
Renwick fared much better over his first nine holes, reaching the midway point just 1 over par after bogeys at 11 and 17 offset at birdie at the par-5 13th. On the second nine, the freshman suffered a stretch of five bogeys from holes 3-8 before he gained a slight measure of revenge with a birdie at the finishing ninth. Renwick stands tied for 75th at 5 over par.
Porteous was in line to score for the Vols, only to drop shots at the final two holes to finish at 6-over-par 77. Porteous answered a bogey at the 10th with a birdie at 13, only to double the par-4 14th. Bogeys at 17 and 18 left the freshman four shots adrift of par at the break. He was still there after going bogey-birdie twice in the next five holes, only to end on the sour note with the consecutive bogeys to settle into a tie for 93rd place.
Tennessee gets the early crack Wednesday, beginning play on the par-71, 7,255-yard layout at 7:47 a.m. Eastern time. The forecast calls for morning showers, scattered thunderstorms later and a high of 77, with winds at 10-15 mph.
Live scoring is available via the UTsports.com Web site.
|t-1. Oklahoma State||288 (+4)|
|t-1. Georgia||288 (+4)|
|3. Chattanooga||292 (+8)|
|t-4. Washington||293 (+9)|
|t-4. San Diego||293 (+9)|
|t-6. TENNESSEE||294 (+10)|
|t-6. Arizona State||294 (+10)|
|t-6. Ohio State||294 (+10)|
|9. Michigan||296 (+12)|
|t-10. Arkansas||297 (+13)|
|t-10. Duke||297 (+13)|
|t-12. Texas A&M||298 (+14)|
|t-12. Northwestern||298 (+14)|
|t-12. Alabama||298 (+14)|
|t-15. Illinois||299 (+15)|
|t-15. TCU||299 (+15)|
|17. Central Florida||300 (+16)|
|t-18. Georgia Tech||301 (+17)|
|t-18. Iowa||301 (+17)|
|20. Wake Forest||302 (+18)|
|21. Texas Tech||303 (+19)|
|t-22. Southern California||305 (+21)|
|t-22. Stanford||305 (+21)|
|t-22. South Carolina||305 (+21)|
|t-25. Oregon||306 (+22)|
|t-25. Virginia||306 (+22)|
|t-25. UCLA||306 (+22)|
|28. Texas||308 (+24)|
|t-29. Florida||310 (+26)|
|t-29. Arizona||310 (+26)|
|t-1. Jonathan Bowers, Northwestern||69 (-2)|
|t-1. Scott Langley, Illinois||69 (-2)|
|t-1. Matt Hill, North Carolina State||69 (-2)|
|t-4. David Holmes, TENNESSEE||70 (-1)|
|t-4. Alex Ching, San Diego||70 (-1)|
|t-4. Tom Hoge, TCU||70 (-1)|
|t-4. Philip Francis, UCLA||70 (-1)|
|t-4. Nick Taylor, Washington||70 (-1)|
|t-4. David Holmes||70 (-1)|
|t-29. Robin Wingardh||73 (+2)|
|t-56. Chris Paisley||75 (+4)|
|t-75. Darren Renwick||76 (+5)|
|t-93. Garrick Porteous||77 (+6)|
|1st Tee, 7-7:38 a.m. -- Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma State|
|1st Tee, 7:47-8:25 a.m. -- Arkansas, TENNESSEE, Washington|
|1st Tee, 8:35-9:13 a.m. -- South Carolina, Southern California, Stanford|
|10th Tee, 7:20-7:58 a.m. -- Arizona State, Georgia, UCLA|
|10th Tee, 8:07-8:45 a.m. -- Georgia Tech, Illinois, Texas A&M|
|10th Tee, 8:55 a.m. -- Individual qualifiers|