May 14, 2009
Tennessee's lineup was turned completely on its head Thursday at the NCAA Division I Men's Golf Regional, yet the view from Rocky Top looks mighty fine.
The fourth-seeded Vols carded a 12-over-par 296 to claim the first-day advantage by a single stroke over Wake Forest (297) and two over Virginia (298) at New Jersey's Galloway National Golf Club. Freshman Darren Renwick also stands alone atop the individual leaderboard on the strength of his even-par 71.
"Darren's done a terrific job for us all year and it was great to see him have such a good round," UT head coach Jim Kelson said. "On a really tough day, at a really challenging golf course, he came through for us in a big way and that was our key.
Renwick opened his morning with birdies at 11 and 12 -- UT started play on the back nine -- then seemed to be headed in the other direction with a bogey at 13 and a double at 15. But that three-stroke lapse sparked a resurgence and Renwick played his final 12 holes in 1 under par, offsetting a bogey at No. 1 with birdies on the 18th and ninth holes.
"He doesn't get flustered very easily," Kelson said. "He just keeps plugging along and keeps battling. He is a very good competitor and is going to battle no matter what. Our entire team did a good job of that today."
Kelson's decision to pencil Garrick Porteous into his regional lineup yielded immediate dividends, the freshman firing a 74 to claim a seventh-place tie at 3 over par.
"It's just been a matter of time for him," Kelson said. "He is a very straight driver and this course demands that. He made a double bogey on his 15th hole (the sixth) or otherwise he had a great round. He played very well and had a nice, solid start."
That double at No. 6 accompanied bogeys at the fourth and eighth holes and a nice birdie at the par-4 first, bringing him home in 38. This after an even-par first nine holes that featured a birdie at 11 and a bogey at 13.
In between the British duo of Renwick and Porteous was Knoxville junior David Holmes, who also spent time as the first-day individual leader before settling into a tie for fifth with a 2-over 73.
Holmes was 2 under on his first nine holes, wrapping birdies at 13, 16 and 18 around a bogey at the 17th. Only a three-hold stretch on his second nine -- bogey-double-bogey from Nos. 3-5 -- prevented the junior from claiming his own right to the individual first-day lead.
Reliables Chris Paisley and Robin Wingardh, who two weeks ago were named All-SEC first and second team, respectively, combined to finish 16 strokes over par at the 7,022-yard Galloway National course. Paisley scored for the Vols with his 7-over-par 78 and is tied for 27th place, while Wingardh finished at 9-over-par 80 and is tied for 43rd in the 75-player field.
Both scores were the worst this season for Paisley and Wingardh.
"That's pretty surprising because they have been such stalwarts for us all year," Kelson said. "I just look at their first day as kind of being a positive for us. I'm sure they will come back and perform very well for us."
Paisley bogeyed three holes on the first nine and two on the back, then capped his afternoon with a double bogey at the par-3 eighth hole. Wingardh mustered two birdies over his first nine, but gave those back with a quartet of bogeys. He then began the second nine with bogeys on five of his first six holes before following Paisley's lead and doubling the 196-yard eighth.
Still, Tennessee finds itself in an enviable spot as the fight for NCAA Championships qualification resumes Friday. The top five teams after Saturday's third round advance to the NCAA Championships in Toledo, Ohio, set for May 26-30 at the Inverness Club.
UT enters Friday's second round 13 shots ahead of sixth-place Colorado State (309). Top-seeded Clemson (310) is seventh, while SEC competitor Alabama (303), the region's second seed, stands fourth. Third-seeded Illinois (307) is fifth.
"It was great to get off to a good start in this championship," Kelson said. "It's a great golf course and we're really looking forward to continuing to compete well."
Tennessee's scheduled tee times for Friday's second round begins at 9:40 a.m. Eastern time. Weather conditions call for highs in the middle 70s, winds at 9 mph and only a 20 percent chance for rain.
|1. TENNESSEE||296 (+12)|
|2. Wake Forest||297 (+13)|
|3. Virginia||298 (+14)|
|4. Alabama||303 (+19)|
|5. Illinois||307 (+23)|
|6. Colorado State||309 (+25)|
|7. Clemson||310 (+26)|
|8. Kent State||312 (+28)|
|9. Minnesota||314 (+30)|
|10. Virginia Commonwealth||315 (+31)|
|t-11. Penn State||319 (+35)|
|t-11. Coastal Carolina||319 (+35)|
|13. Sacred Heart||322 (+38)|
|14. Columbia||355 (+71)|
|1. Darren Renwick, TENNESSEE||71 (E)|
|2. Lee Bedford, Wake Forest||72 (+1)|
|2. Kyle Stanley, Clemson||72 (+1)|
|2. Kyle Stough, Virginia||72 (+1)|
|5. Brendan Gielow, Wake Forest||73 (+2)|
|5. David Holmes, TENNESSEE||73 (+2)|
|1. Darren Renwick||71 (E)|
|t-5. David Holmes||73 (+2)|
|t-7. Garrick Porteous||74 (+3)|
|t-27. Chris Paisley||78 (+7)|
|t-44. Robin Wingardh||80 (+9)|
|2009 NCAA DIVISION I MEN'S GOLF REGIONAL -- SECOND-ROUND PAIRINGS (Galloway, N.J.)|
|1st Tee, 8:50-9:30 a.m. -- Alabama, Illinois and Colorado State|
|1st Tee, 9:40-10:20 a.m. -- TENNESSEE, Wake Forest and Virginia|
|10th Tee, 8:30-9:10 a.m. -- Sacred Heart, Columbia and individual qualifiers|
|10th Tee, 9:20-10 a.m. -- Virginia Commonwealth, Penn State and Coastal Carolina|
|10th Tee, 10:10-10:50 a.m. -- Clemson, Kent State and Minnesota|