“We did not get off to the start that we wanted to,” Tennessee coach Jim Kelson said. “We did not play our first nine holes very well but then we came back and hung in there decently on the back nine. It was certainly not the start we wanted but we put ourselves in position to advance.
UT senior Charlie Ford highlighted the first day finishing in a tie for second place with a 1-under-par 70 in the first round. Ford is tied with five others, only one stroke back of the individual leader Brendan Gielow of Wake Forest.
“I am very proud of Charlie,” Kelson said. “I thought he played perhaps one of the best rounds of his career. Just played superbly, and Cameron did a good job of hanging in there after a pretty tough start.”
The par-71, 7,420-yard course played tough on Thursday as none of the 27 teams were able to shoot under par. Tennessee remains only two strokes out of 10th place. The top 10 teams from this regional, along with the top 10 teams from the other two regionals, qualify for the NCAA Championships.
Wake Forest opened a two stroke lead over the field with a team score of 6-over-par 290. Alabama is second at 8 over with Oklahoma State third at 9 over. Florida is fourth while Eastern Michigan stands in fifth to round out the top five.
Senior Philip Pettitt finished with a 5-over-par 76 and is tied for 55th. The Murfreesboro native shot par-or-better on 13 of 18 holes during the first round.
Redshirt freshman Cameron Lawrence sits tied for 77th after the first round. The Brentwood native replaced SEC All-Freshman Team honoree Robin Wingardh in the Tennessee lineup after Wingardh was sidelined with mononucleosis. In only his third tournament of the season, Lawrence fired a 6-over-par 77. Lawrence had a rough time on his front nine finishing 6 over but settled down on his back nine to shoot even par.
Chris Paisley was next for the Volunteers, shooting a 7-over-par 78 to finish the first day tied for 87th. The junior failed to make birdie on any hole during the round.
Sophomore David Holmes rounded out the Tennessee lineup with an 11-over-par 82. He finished the day tied for 129th.
Tee times for the second round begin at 7:00 a.m. Eastern Time using a split-tee format. Half of the group will tee off on No. 1, the other half on No. 10. Live results can be found at www.utsports.com and www.golfstat.com .
|1.||Brendan Gielow, Wake Forest||69|
|2t.||Charlie Ford, Tennessee||70|
|2t.||Mark Harrell, Alabama||70|
|2t.||Graham Hill, Eastern Michigan||70|
|2t.||Alexander Sitompul, Michigan||70|
|2t.||Kevin Tway, Oklahoma State||70|