June 2, 2011
By John Painter
UT Media Relations
STILLWATER, Okla. - Tennessee's best nine holes of the week helped the Vols gain three spots in the standings here Wednesday after two rounds of the NCAA Men's Golf Championship.
UT rallied after a 9-over-par first nine holes to shoot 2-over for the second nine and finish the day with an 11-over score of 299 - nine strokes better than Tuesday's opening effort. Tennessee climbed into a tie for 24th place with 18 holes remaining Thursday.
"We would like to have been a few shots better heading into tomorrow, but Thursday's a big round for us," head coach Jim Kelson said. "If we could go play really well tomorrow, we could leave here with a decent taste in our mouths."
Tennessee finished 25th in the national finals a year ago at The Honors Course in Ooltewah and 12th the year before at Inverness Club in Toledo. The 2003 Vols finished 23rd the last time this championship was held here at Karsten Creek Golf Club.
Garrick Porteous and Jay Vandeventer shared scoring honors for UT with matching 73s. Robin Wingardh was next at 75, followed by Danny Keddie at 78. Darren Renwick fought through a difficult first nine to finish at 79.
"Hats off Garrick and Jay; and Robin was fighting there pretty well," Kelson said. "We are proud of them that they hung in there without their A-game."
Birdies the Hardest Hole
Porteous was 4 over par through two holes before returning to form. The junior began stringing together pars and the payoff came with consecutive birdies at Nos. 16 and 17.
"I didn't get off to a great start," Porteous said. "I just wasn't committing to the targets. But I got into a rhythm after that. I stiffed it on 16; I stiffed it on 17. They always say that about me, that I birdie the hardest hole every week."
This week's candidate is Karsten Creek's par-4, 471-yard 17th hole, which was the third most difficult hole Tuesday and the second-hardest Wednesday. Its stroke average through two rounds is 4.57.
Porteous birdied both par 5s coming home against just one more bogey and improved 28 positions on the individual leaderboard to a tie for 62nd place at 6-over 150.
"I just played steady and stuck to my game plan, and it seemed to work out."
Vandeventer said Wednesday was his best round since the SEC Championship, where he posted three straight 73s to finish in a tie for 25th. Here at the nation's top collegiate tournament, the sophomore climbed 34 places on Day 2 to a tie for 74th.
"It felt pretty good," said Vandeventer, who was five strokes better than Tuesday's opening round. "Once again, I hit the tee ball really well and found a bunch of fairways."
Eagle-2 at No. 16
Highlight of the day was an eagle-2 at the par-4 16th hole. He promptly followed that up with a triple-bogey 7 at the 17th, but Vandeventer wasn't about to let that ruin his afternoon.
"I told myself the same thing as Tuesday, just one shot at a time. I got a birdie out of 18 and then played the front side really well."
Vandeventer shot an even-par 36 for his second nine - one birdie, one bogey - and is at 7-over-par 151 for the championship.
"I burned a lot of edges with the putter and wish a few would have gone in, but other than that I played pretty well. I know what I need to do, just keep hitting fairways and giving myself chances. Hopefully, those putts will fall in tomorrow."
Wingardh played his first nine holes in 3 over par thanks to a bogey-bogey start. But the senior captain got all three shots back over a five-hole stretch from holes 1-5.
"I started hitting some good shots and making birdies," he said. "I played better than Tuesday, but not anywhere close to where I want to be or where I know I can be. I can't really do anything about it other than just try to get a really good round Thursday."
Wingardh's second round was tempered somewhat by a double bogey at No. 6 and a closing bogey at the ninth. He's in a tie for 78th place at 8-over 152.
"This year, I've been playing pretty consistently," said Wingardh, who on Tuesday was named to the Division I Ping All-Southeast Region squad. "It's a little disappointing that I played pretty bad in regionals and have played bad so far here. But I'm just going to try to get a good round tomorrow.
"No matter what happens, I'm happy with my play during my senior year."
First Birdie at the Last
Keddie finally found his first birdie of Wednesday's second round on the very last hole - the par-5, 623-yard ninth. Keddie shot 39-39 for the day after carding 38-38 on Tuesday.
"The first seven holes, I hit it unbelievably well. I hit it straight at the pin but just couldn't make the putt. I couldn't get the ball to the hole. I was missing everything low and short.
"I hit a bad yardage on 17 and went over the back, had a bad lie and ended up making double. And it just seemed to get worse from then on."
The freshman also doubled the par-3 third, taking four putts from the fringe after his tee shot landed above the hole.
"I made a few bad decisions today and everything seemed to add on to the trouble," Keddie said. "It's nice to finish with a birdie. I felt I hit it pretty good all day, but if you go in the wrong direction you struggle to make it stop."
Renwick went out in 43, a double at No. 11 and triple at No. 17 the major culprits. But the junior played his best golf of the week on his second nine, rallying for an even-par 36 to settle at 13-over 157 for the championship.
"I just told myself to keep doing what I'm doing, keep staying patient, because I felt like I was playing well," Renwick said. "I've just been getting a couple of bad breaks here and there and I need to stick with it."
Tennessee's third round begins Thursday at 8:40 a.m. Central time on the No. 10 tee, alongside San Diego and Kent State. Those two squads are immediately ahead of the 24th-place Vols on the team leaderboard.
Course Record 65
Georgia Tech (573) and UCLA (574) are 1-2 for the second day in a row, followed by Illinois (578), Georgia (579) and Alabama (580). The fight for the top eight match-play positions are up for grabs Thursday, with host Oklahoma State (585), Augusta State (588), Texas A&M (590) and Ohio State (590) holding the inside track.
The match-play quarterfinals begin Friday.
Individually, LSU's John Peterson (139) broke the Karsten Creek course record with a 65 to climb into first place, one stroke ahead of Georgia Tech's James White (140).
Peterson's round also was one shot better than the previous course record of 66 held by former Oklahoma State golfer and current PGA Tour star Hunter Mahan and Kansas' Andy Stewart.
Thursday's weather forecast calls for both the warmest temperatures and gustiest winds of the championship. Highs are expected to reach the mid-90s amid winds gusting from 15-25 mph.
Live scoring is available on UTsports.com, via Golfstat.com.
Be sure to check out Golfweek's NCAA Championship coverage , live from Stillwater.
|1.||Georgia Tech||283-290--573 (-3)|
|6.||Oklahoma State||292-293--585 (+9)|
|7.||Augusta State||294-294--588 (+12)|
|T-8.||Texas A&M||289-301--590 (+14)|
|T-8.||Ohio State||291-299--590 (+14)|
|10.||Southern California||303-289--592 (+16)|
|T-12.||Arizona State||303-293--596 (+20)|
|T-12.||San Diego State||295-301--596 (+20)|
|22.||San Diego||300-304--604 (+28)|
|23.||Kent State||304-302--606 (+30)|
|T-24.||Kennesaw State||295-312--607 (+31)|
|28.||North Carolina State||310-308--618 (+42)|
|30.||Colorado State||307-322--629 (+53)|
|1.||John Peterson, LSU||74-65--139 (-5)|
|2.||James White, Georgia Tech||67-73--140 (-4)|
|T-3.||Patrick Cantlay, UCLA||72-69--141 (-3)|
|T-3.||Luke Guthrie, Illinois||72-69--141 (-3)|
|T-3.||Harris English, Georgia||70-71--141 (-3)|
|T-62.||Garrick Porteous||77-73--150 (+6)|
|T-74.||Jay Vandeventer||78-73--151 (+7)|
|T-78.||Robin Wingardh||77-75--152 (+8)|
|T-93.||Danny Keddie||76-78--154 (+10)|
|T-122.||Darren Renwick||78-79--157 (+13)|