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    SEC Men's Golf Today: May 29

    Alabama Men’s Golf Holds First-Round Lead at NCAA Championships
     
    PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – The University of Alabama men’s golf team has the opening-round lead at the NCAA Championships on the par-71, 7,292-yard Riviera Country Club on Tuesday after shooting a 1-over-par round of 285.
     
    The second-seeded Crimson Tide has a three-shot lead on Florida and Auburn heading into Wednesday’s second round. It was an eventful day for Alabama’s five-man lineup who recorded 17 birdies, one eagle, 18 bogeys and two double bogeys. UCLA and Oklahoma are tied for fourth at 5-over 289 while Iowa, Florida State, North Florida, UCF and Texas are tied for sixth at 6-over 290.
     
    Alabama, who teed off on the 10th hole Tuesday afternoon, finished on the par-4, 458-yard ninth hole. The Tide played the hole at 2-under par with a 24-foot birdie from Bobby Wyatt and a 14-foot birdie from Justin Thomas to finish at 1-over 285 as a team.
     
    “We had a nice round and I was proud of how we finished, making a couple of birdies on our final hole,” Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said. “This is a hard golf course and the guys just kind of hung in there. I was pleased with the way they were able to stay focused on the job at hand. Those two birdies are going to be huge at the end of this round.”
     
    Thomas, a freshman from Goshen, Ky., played his final 11 holes at 3-under par after a rough start. He is tied for 10th after posting the Crimson Tide’s lowest round of the day at 1-under 70.
     
    Wyatt, a native of Mobile, Ala., finished at even-par 71 with his closing birdie. He went out in even par and made birde on his 10th and 18th holes with two bogeys in between for his even par round. He is tied with teammate Scott Strohmeyer in 13th place after carding an up-and-down first round.
     
    Strohmeyer, from Auburn, Ala., made an eagle, four birdies and six bogeys to go along with just seven pars in his first round. Sophomore Cory Whitsett and senior Hunter Hamrick tied for Alabama’s final counting score of the day with 2-over-par rounds of 73. They are in a tie for 46th place after 18 holes.
     
    “This is a great, hard golf course. It is very fair. It is probably the fairest course we have every competed on. You hit a bad shot; you are going to get penalized for it. You hit a good shot; you have a chance to make birdies. The pins were fair. You have a 300-yard par-4 (No. 10) and you can make a three of a six with no water or out-of-bounds.”
     
    Alabama will play with Texas and California again in the second round at Riviera on Wednesday. The Crimson Tide will tee off at 9 a.m. (CDT) on the first hole. The field will be cut to the top eight teams after three rounds on Thursday and then play three rounds of match play to crown a national champion.



    McCumber, Gators tied for Second After Day One of NCAA Championship

    Pacific Palisades, Calif. – The University of Florida men’s golf team shot an opening round 288 (+4), to sit in a tie for second place overall at the 2012 NCAA Championships played at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif. For the day, the Gators were led by junior Tyler McCumber (Ponte Vedra, Fla.) who shot a bogey-free 68 (-3) to sit in a tie for second place.

    “It was a decent start for us,” said head coach Buddy Alexander. “We’ve been slow out of the gates all season and I thought we handled today pretty solidly and made some good adjustments after our practice round.”

    “Tyler played a great round of golf today,” Alexander continued. “To not make any bogeys on a course like this is very impressive and shows how well he played today.”

    McCumber started his day with six consecutive pars before breaking through with a birdie at the par-4 seventh. Two more pars at eight and nine saw McCumber go out in 34 (-1). To start his homeward half, McCumber made birdie on the par-4 10th. After a stretch of seven-consecutive pars, McCumber carded a birdie on the difficult, par-4, 18th to post his 17th round at or under par on the season.

    After a tough opening nine, senior Michael Furci (Sayville, N.Y.) was able to rally to post a one-over. Furci, who had three bogeys on the front, was able to regroup coming in by making two birdies and seven pars to post his 72.

    “Michael had a big back nine for us,” Alexander explained. “We were struggling there for a bit and he kept us in it with his play which was huge.”

    Junior T.J. Vogel (Cooper City, Fla.) also finished his opening round with a 72 after an up-and-down day where he made a team-best four birdies which were countered by five bogeys.

    Freshmen J.D. Tomlinson (Gainesville, Fla.) and Eric Banks (Truro, Canada) each posted rounds of 76 (+5) to round out the UF lineup.

    “We’re going out in the afternoon tomorrow and we’ll probably face some wind and tougher conditions, but we need to be able to stay focused and play our game and hopefully put together a round that puts us in contention going into the final round,” Alexander said.

    The Gators will return to the course tomorrow when they tee off beginning at 12:20 PST, 3:20 EST.  Live scoring for the second round will be available through NCAA.com.



    No. 4 Auburn Men's Golf Tied for Second After NCAA Championship First Round

    PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. - The fourth-ranked Auburn men's golf team is tied for second with No. 19 Florida after shooting a 4-over 288 in the first round of the NCAA Championship at historic Riviera Country Club on Tuesday. All-American Blayne Barber and All-SEC Dominic Bozzelli each fired 2-under 69s to lead the Tigers as both are tied for fourth individually.

    The top eight teams after three rounds advance to match play while the individual NCAA Champion is also be determined after 54 holes.

    No. 2 Alabama leads after a 1-over 285, three shots ahead of the Tigers and Gators. No. 5 UCLA and No. 28 Oklahoma are tied for fourth at 289 while there is a five-way tie for sixth at 290 with No. 1 Texas, No. 11 North Florida, No. 19 Florida State, No. 20 UCF and No. 25 Iowa after a jumbled first round.

    "We played well in spurts," said Auburn head coach Nick Clinard. "We got off to a decent start and through 10-11 holes, we were playing very well and there are some tough holes from 12-15, and we hit some pretty poor shots off the tee and let a few go. We had a few guys finish strong, and Niclas' bogeys on 17 and 18 hurt us."

    No. 7 Oregon is tied for 11th at 291 with Liberty, but the Flames had three holes to play at press time. No. 10 San Diego State is 13th at 292 followed by No. 9 Stanford (292) and No. 17 Kent State (293) to round out the top 15.

    Barber played a solid bogey-free round with birdies at par-5s No. 1 and No. 17. His 20-foot eagle putt through the fringe on 17th was just short.

    "It was a great round and was very solid," said Barber. "I played well. I didn't get into too much trouble. I made a few par putts on the front to keep the round going, and I was able to stay bogey-free and birdied two par 5s.

    "Moving forward, it is important to start well as a team. We are in a great spot moving forward, and we get to go out on fresh greens in the morning and go at it again."

    Bozzelli carded four birdies and a pair of bogeys as he opened with a birdie, bogey and birdie on the first three holes. The Pittsford, N.Y., native, who recorded his third consecutive under par round and fourth in the last five, had back-to-back birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 followed by a bogey at No. 12.

    "I didn't have my best stuff hitting the ball, but I got off to a decent start with a birdie on No. 1. Whenever I missed the greens, I had a lot of nice up and downs. Par is a pretty good score here. You just have to be patient because if you are not and you get too aggressive at some pins, you can make bogey in a hurry.

    "It's important to get off to a good start as a team. We just need to go down to the range and work on some things that we have all been working on and hopefully come out and play well again tomorrow."

    All-SEC Will McCurdy had a 74 with four birdies and is tied for 64th while All-SEC Niclas Carlsson had a 76 and is tied for 105th after bogeying four of his last seven holes. Freshman All-SEC Michael Johnson had an 81 and is tied for 151st.

    No. 23 Georgia is tied for 16th at 295 with No. 3 California and East Carolina while No. 8 Washington is in 20th at 296. Chattanooga is tied for 20th at press time with three holes to play while UAB (297) is 22nd and host and No. 6 Southern California and No. 15 Texas A&M are for 23rd at 298 ahead of TCU (299), Memphis (299), Virginia Tech (299), Lamar (299) and Tulsa (306). No. 16 Virginia is in 29th at 16-over with three holes to play.

    Auburn has a quick turnaround as the Tigers finished their opening round at 6:30 pm Pacific and tees off in Wednesday's second round off the No. 10 tee beginning at 7:20 am Pacific (9:20 am CT) with UCLA and Southern California.

    "That's a good thing," said Clinard of the Tigers returning to the course in less than 12 hours. "I told the guys before we got here that if you finish the first round playing well, then you get right back out with good vibes. Plus, the greens should be better. We are putting on poana and late in the day on the last few holes, they get very bumpy. They should be very good tomorrow. Hopefully, the wind dies down where we can go out and shoot 7 to 8 under."

    UCLA's Anton Arboleda is the individual leader with a 4-under 67, one shot ahead of Kent State's Corey Conners and Florida's Tyler McCumber and two ahead of six golfers at 2-under, including Barber and Bozzelli. Live-scoring of the NCAA Championship can be followed at www.golfstat.com .



    Bulldogs Open NCAAs With 11-Over 295

    PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. - Led by veteran T.J. Mitchell, the Georgia men's golf team posted an 11-over-par 295 in the first round of the NCAA Championships on Tuesday at The Riviera Club.

    All 30 teams in the field will play 54 holes, with the top eight advancing to match play beginning on Friday. The Bulldogs stand 15th in the tightly bunched team race that has Alabama in first place at 1-over 285, two teams at 4-over, two teams at 5-over and five teams at 6-over. The 6-over squads occupy what would be the eighth spot, and the 20th-seeded Bulldogs trail them by just five shots.

    Mitchell, the only Bulldog back from last year's NCAA finalist squad, paced Georgia on Tuesday with an even-par 71. The junior is 13th in the individual standings, with UCLA's Anton Arboleda leading at 4-under 67. Sophomore Keith Mitchell added a 2-over 73, while freshman Nicholas Reach signed for a 3-over 74, and sophomores Joey Garber and Brian Carter each had a 6-over 77.

    "We had our chances," Georgia coach Chris Haack said. "We played well in spurts, but we gave away a few at the beginning and a few at the end. We need to play better the next two rounds, and we'll see what happens. During the practice round, everybody hit it well. And they're all playing with confidence because I've seen it. We've just got to translate that into better scores This is a golf course that's known worldwide for being a great track, and you'd better respect it. You just can't give away shots. But the guys are learning. They're young and they're getting better."

    "We kind of lost a few shots coming in, which is crucial because every shot counts," T.J. Mitchell said. "We've talked about that all year, making every shot count, especially at the Regionals and now at the NCAAs. We're in a good spot. We can get back in it by playing well the next two days. We seemed to settle in around the middle part of the course, and we need to remember that for Wednesday. We can't compound mistakes with other mistakes. We've got to stay in the present and try to have fun."

    The Bulldogs will tee off in 10-minute increments between 3:40 and 4:20 EST in the second round on Wednesday. Thursday's third-round tee times will be determined by the 36-hole scores. Live results and pairings can be found at NCAA.com.

    "If we can follow up with two good rounds, I think we'll be fine," Keith Mitchell said. "We need to get off to a great start, and if we're confident on the greens and stay with it, some putts will finally drop. It's a privilege to be out here, to play such a great course against such great competition. If we take it in and appreciate the opportunity we have, it will be a fun time."