David Skinns recorded 4-under-par 68 in third-round play to lead Tennessee to an impressive 295 (+7) third-round score Thursday at the 2003 NCAA Golf Championships at Stillwater, Okla., but the Vols failed to make the tournament's cut finishing in 23rd-place. The top 18 teams advance for Friday's final round.
The Vols finished in 23rd-place with a three-day score of 925 (320-310-295) 61 shots over-par. Top-ranked Clemson (888) heads into the final round with a 1-shot lead over host Oklahoma State (889). The Tigers shot a tourney-best 287 (-1) in today's round. Third-place Florida and UCLA trail the Tigers by 13 strokes. The Bruins, who led after two rounds, shot a disappointing 13-over 301 today.
Skinns' round of 68 and Tennessee's third-round team score of 295 ranked among the tournament's best one day individual and team totals respectively surrendered by the Karsten Creek Golf Club this week. Skinns' third-round propelled the UT sophomore into Friday's final round as the top six individuals not on the 18 teams advancing are invited to continue play.
"David had a great round of golf today," Tennessee head coach Jim Kelson said. "The golf course played a little easier today and he took advantage of it. We got off to a fast start today and had a terrific round going before losing a few shots coming in. I'm very disappointed that we will not be playing tomorrow. I felt like we would have had a chance to move up with another good round."
After three rounds, Skinns stands tied 20th on the individual list with a 7-over 223. Auburn's Lee Williams continues to lead the tournament with a three-day total of 4-under 212 five shots ahead of Kentucky's John Holmes, Oklahoma State's Hunter Mahan and Lamar's Chris Stroud.
Skinns was not the only Vol to enjoy success today. Ross McGowan, who was the Vols' top player at the NCAA East Regional two weeks ago, rallied today with an impressive 1-over 73. McGowan went off first and played his first nine holes on the back 9 at -4 to get the Vols' day rolling. He had posted scores of 87 and 84 the first two days of the tournament.
"I'd never seen Ross have one day like that, much less two," Kelson said. "Bouncing back like he did today says a lot about what kind of competitor he is. He showed a lot of heart today."
John-Scott Rattan also recorded a 1-over 73 today. Rattan had an up-and-down round with five birdies to go with four bogeys and one double-bogey. Rattan stands tied for 65th at 15-over for the tournament with a three-day total of 231.
This year's bid is Tennessee's first appearance to the NCAA Championships since
1997 and first for the Vols under Kelson.