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    SEC Golf Today: May 30

    Alabama Men’s Golf Leads after 36 Holes at NCAA Championships
     
    PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – Alabama’s second-ranked men’s golf team retained its lead at the 2012 NCAA Championships with a 3-over-par score of 287 on Wednesday for a 36-hole total of 4-over 572 after two rounds at  the 7,292-yard, par-71 Riviera Country Club.
     
    The Crimson Tide has a four-shot lead over UCLA, who also carded a 287 (+3) in round two and is 8-over par. Florida State is third at 12-over 580 with Oklahoma and North Florida tied for fourth at 581. Washington (+14, 582) is sixth and Liberty (+15, 583) seventh with five teams tied for eighth at 16-over 584, including California, Kent State, Florida, Southern California and Illinois.
     
    The field will be cut to eight teams after the completion of the third round on Thursday. The national champion will then be determined on Sunday after three rounds of match play.
     
    “I feel really good about the round,” Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said. “I didn’t realize the golf course was playing that hard until I looked at a scoreboard on 14. I was really proud of the guys. I feel like they grinded out a nice round today, when it was easy not too.”
     
    Sophomore Cory Whitsett led the Crimson Tide individually on Wednesday with a 3-under-par 68. It was tied for the low round of the day and left the Houston, Texas, native tied for fifth at 1-under 141.
     
    “A day like today, things can definitely get away from you,” Seawell said. “That is where Cory (Whitsett) stepping up with a 3-under, those are the things that change rounds. Our guys in the back were grinding, but they were three or four over par most of the day. To have a guy shoot 68 today, that was a huge help.”
     
    Whitsett made five birdies and two bogeys on his day and keyed his round with a birdie on the 166-yard, par-3 16th hole. He then followed with a birdie on the par-5 17th with a difficult up-and-down from the green-side bunker.  
     
    “The birdie I made on 16 was important for me,” Whitsett said following the round. “I hit a good tee shot on 15, but it just barely caught the right bunker, and I made bogey. The round could have gone one of two ways at that point. It was nice to stick a shot in there close (on 16), about eight feet, and make it.”
     
    Whitsett was joined in red numbers by freshman Justin Thomas, who carded his second straight 1-under-par 70. Thomas is fourth after two rounds at 2-under 140, three shots off the lead of Illinois’ Thomas Pieters (-5, 137).
     
    Thomas got off to a quick start on the front nine with birdies on the second, third, eighth and ninth holes to make the turn at 4-under 31. He sandwiched a birdie in between two bogeys on the par-5 11th hole before making double bogey on the 14th and bogey on the 15th. Thomas returned to red numbers with a birdie on the 17th hole.
     
    Senior Hunter Hamrick fired his second straight 2-over 73 that he capped with a birdie on the par-5, 590-yard 17th hole. He is 4-over 146 after 36 holes and tied for 37th.
     
    Scott Strohmeyer shot 5-over 76 to count as the Tide’s fourth score while Bobby Wyatt was the drop score at 6-over 77. Strohmeyer is tied for 53rd at 5-over 147 with Wyatt tied for 60th at 6-over 148.
     
    Alabama will play with UCLA and Florida State on Thursday in the final round of stroke play. The top eight teams will advance to match play that begins on Friday.



    Gators tied for Eighth, McCumber tied for Second, Heading into Final Round of NCAA Championship

    Pacific Palisades, Calif. – The University of Florida men’s golf team shot a second round 296 (+12), to sit in a tie for eighth place heading into the final round of the 2012 NCAA Championships played at Riviera Country Club. The top-eight teams following tomorrow’s final round will advance to the match play portion of the tournament and compete for the National Championship.

    “We weren’t quite as good as we were yesterday but it’s all relative,” said head coach Buddy Alexander. “The cool thing about this tournament is that you don’t really know where you stand until after 36 holes. The good thing is that we put ourselves in a spot where we can make a run at it tomorrow.”

    For the day, the Gators were again led by junior Tyler McCumber (Ponte Vedra, Fla.) who shot and even par round of 71 and sits at three-under for the tournament, good for a tie for second overall. After starting his day with a pair of pars on 10 and 11, McCumber made a birdie on the par-4 12th. The junior gave the stroke back with a bogey on 15 to drop to even on the day but quickly recovered carding a birdie on the next hole, the par-3 16th. After making the turn at one-under, 35, McCumber added a birdie on the par-5 first to get to two-under on the day. Unfortunately, McCumber gave the two-strokes back with a double at the difficult par-4 second. McCumber didn’t let the double fluster him as he steadily came in with seven-consecutive pars to post his second straight round of even par or better. McCumber will enter the final round two strokes behind Thomas Pieters of Illinois.

    Junior T.J. Vogel (Cooper City, Fla.) and freshman Eric Banks (Truro, Canada) each recorded second round scores of 74 for the Orange and Blue. Vogel, who sits in a tie for 37th after two rounds, used two birdies against three bogeys and a double for his three-over round, while Banks had three birdies countered by six bogeys.

    Senior Michael Furci (Sayville, N.Y.) posted the final counting score for UF with a six-over, 77, while freshman J.D. Tomlinson (Gainesville, Fla.) rounded out the Gators in the field with an 82.

    “We’re going to go out tomorrow, play our game and try to put together a solid round and then see what happens,” Alexander said.

    The Gators will return to the course tomorrow when they tee off beginning at noon PST, 3 p.m. EST. UF will be paired with USC and Illinois during the final round.  Live scoring for the round and live video on select holes will be available through NCAA.com.



    No. 4 Auburn Men's Golf Tied for 15th After NCAA Championship Second Round

    PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif.-- The fourth-ranked Auburn men’s golf team fell from second to a tie for 15th shooting a 15-over 299 for a 587 total after the second round of the NCAA Championship at historic Riviera Country Club on Wednesday. The Tigers are three shots behind Illinois, Kent State, Florida, Southern California and California in the coveted eighth spot. 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 continues to lead after a 3-over 287 for a 4-over 572 total, four shots ahead of No. 5 UCLA (287-576). Florida State is in fourth at 12-over followed by Oklahoma (292-581), North Florida (291-581), Washington (286-582) and Liberty (288-583).

    “We had five doubles, a triple and a quad so it is pretty tough to come back, especially on this golf course because there are just not that many birdies out there,” said Auburn head coach Nick Clinard.

    All-American Blayne Barber is tied for 10th after shooting a 3-over 74 for a 1-over 143 total. Barber doubled his opening hole, No. 10, and was 4-over after his first six, but chipped in for eagle at the par-5 17th, his eighth hole. The Lake City, Fla., native then bogeyed his final hole, the ninth, after driving into the fairway bunker.

    All-SEC Dominic Bozzelli was leading the NCAA Championship after 20 holes at 4-under with back-to-back birdies on his first two holes but quadruple bogeyed his next, No. 12, after his tee shot stayed in the tree and did not come down. After going back to re-tee, his approach spun back into the greenside bunker before three-putting from 20 feet. The Pittsford, N.Y., native’s 75 leaves him tied for 16th at 2-over 144.

    All-SEC Will McCurdy is tied for 84th after a 76 for an 8-over 150 while All-SEC Niclas Carlsson is tied for 117th with a 77-153. Freshman All-SEC Michael Johnson improved on his first round 81 with a 74 and is tied for 132th.

    “The wind is picking up pretty good right now (for the second round afternoon wave),” said Clinard. “Hopefully, we got our bad round out of the way today, and if we go out tomorrow and shoot even par or 1-over, we may have a chance.”

    Illinois’ Thomas Pieters is the individual leader at 5-under 137, two shots ahead of UCLA’s Anton Arboleda (72-139) and Florida’s Tyler McCumber (71-139).



    Bulldogs Slip To 19th At NCAA Championships

    PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. - After climbing into contention early in the second round, the Georgia men’s golf team slipped further back at the NCAA Championships on Wednesday at The Riviera Club.

    The 20th-seeded Bulldogs successfully navigated the front nine and vaulted from the middle of the pack into the top 10. That position was a critical one as the top eight teams after Thursday’s third round will advance to match play while the other 22 teams will be eliminated.

    However, on the back nine, the Bulldogs went 12-over par and wound up at 14-over 298 for the day. After two rounds, Georgia is in 19th place at 25-over 593 --- nine strokes behind current eighth-place teams California, Kent State, Florida and Southern Cal (584). Alabama has the overall lead at 572.

    “We know exactly what we need to do,” Georgia coach Chris Haack said. “We’re nine shots back, and it’s up to us to get them back. We can’t expect or rely on anyone to give them to us. Nine shots is a reachable goal, but we’ve got to show that we want it. Our goal all season has been to make it to match play at the NCAAs. Thursday is a growing-up kind of day for us. We need to come out blazing and try to get ourselves into that top eight. We had some positives early on today, so we need to build off of those. We also had some negatives, and we need to learn from them. Every walk around this golf course is an opportunity to learn and to perform well.”

    The Bulldogs will tee off in 10-minute increments on Thursday from 10:30 to 11:10 a.m. EST. Georgia will be paired with Chattanooga and Texas A&M.

    Sophomore Keith Mitchell paced the Bulldogs on Wednesday with a 1-over 72. Junior T.J. Mitchell signed for a 3-over 74, while sophomore Joey Garber had a 4-over 75, and sophomore Brian Carter and freshman Nicholas Reach each posted a 6-over 77.

    The Mitchells (no relation) are tied for 25th in the individual race at 3-over 145. They are eight strokes behind leader Thomas Pieters of Illinois (137). Reach is at 9-over 151, followed by Garber at 10-over 152 and Carter at 12-over 154. The individual national champion will be crowned following Thursday’s round.

    “Hopefully, we can keep our noses down all the way through the round Thursday,” Keith Mitchell said. “We need to fire on all cylinders. We’ve got nothing to lose now. We need to shoot at every pin and make every putt because it could be our last competitive round of the year.”

    “We’ve got to put it together for a complete round,” Haack said. “We’ve got to play all 18 and keep it going because anything can happen out here. We’ve played both nines well and both nines bad. We need to remember the good stuff and do it again.”

    “We need a good round Thursday,” T.J. Mitchell said. “We’re nine down, but you never know what will happen. The course is tough, so we’ve just got to hang in there, let it go and see what happens.”

    Live results and tee times can be found at NCAA.com.