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    NCAA Golf Recaps: May 16

    Gamecocks in Second After Opening Round of Columbus Regional

    COLUMBUS, Ohio —Led by a career-low 68 (-3) from freshman Will Starke, the 20th-ranked South Carolina men’s golf team wrapped up the opening round of the NCAA Columbus Regional in second place on Thursday as it posted a 288 (+4) at the Ohio State University Golf Club.

    With 36 holes remaining, the Gamecocks are just one stroke back of tournament leader Charlotte. The 49ers carded a 3-over 287 to take the early lead. The top five teams and top individual not on those teams will advance to the NCAA Championship. Six strokes separate Carolina and sixth place heading into the second round. Individually, Starke is in a tie for second place with UNLV’s Carl Johnson, one stroke back of Charlotte’s Raoul Menard (67) for the tournament lead.

    “I thought the team really fought hard today, especially in the middle of the round when we struggled,” South Carolina head coach Bill McDonald said. “They came back at the end of the round and fought really hard to keep us in the tournament and put us in a good position heading into tomorrow.”

    Starke came up huge for the Gamecocks on a day red numbers were hard to come by, as only seven golfers finished the round under par. A native of Chapin, S.C., Starke got the only blemish on his scorecard out of the way early. After beginning the day with a par on the 10th hole, he bogeyed the par-4 11th to drop to 1-over. However, he bounced back with a birdie on the par-5 12th on his way to playing the remainder of his round at 4-under, with four birdies and 12 pars.

    “Will Starke’s round was really strong,” McDonald said. “A 68 on this golf course is really great playing.”

    Two more Gamecocks finished the round in the top 20. Sophomore Sean Kelly carded a 1-over 72 to move into a tie for 10th, and senior Dykes Harbin is in a tie for 16th after shooting a 2-over 73.

    Kelly played his first nine at event par, recording two birdies and a pair of bogeys. After making par on the first three holes of the back nine, he recorded back-to-back bogeys on the fourth and fifth holes to drop to 2-over. The Staten Island, N.Y., native regrouped to finish the day in strong fashion, recording three pars and a birdie on No. 17 to get into the clubhouse at 1-over.

    Harbin, who has six top-20 finishes this season, made the turn with a 38 (+3) after recording one birdie, two bogeys and a double bogey on his first nine. He then made five straight pars to begin the back side before falling to 4-over with a bogey on No. 6. However, he helped the Gamecocks move up the leaderboard with birdies on the seventh and ninth holes to conclude his round.

    Sophomore Caleb Sturgeon and freshman Matt NeSmith are also in the mix for a top-20 finish after each carding a 4-over 75 on Thursday to close out the round in a tie for 32nd. Sturgeon tallied one birdie and five bogeys on the afternoon, and NeSmith recorded three birdies and seven bogeys.

    The competition for a top-five finish will be extremely close heading into Friday’s second round, as five teams are within six strokes of fifth place. Stanford is currently in third place with a score of 291 (+7), followed by UNLV (292) and Auburn (293).

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    Florida Men’s Golf in First after First Day at NCAA South Regional

    BATON ROUGE, La. – The University of Florida men’s golf team put together one of its finest rounds of the season to propel them into first place after the first day at the NCAA South Regional in Baton Rouge, La. on Thursday, May 16. As a team, the Gators recorded a 286 (-2) for the opening round at the University Club.

    “We have been waiting for a day like today,” head coach Buddy Alexander commented. “Today was solid from the get-go.”

    UF was the only team in the field to record a score under par on the first day of competition and holds a 10-stroke advantage over second place Alabama. The top of the individual leaderboard was held by a Florida golfer, as well. Seniors Tyler McCumber (Ponte Vedra, Fla.) and T.J. Vogel (Cooper City, Fla.) share the top spot after Thursday’s round. In total, three Gators are in the top-10 after the first day.

    McCumber and Vogel each fired an opening round 70 (-2) to lead the team on the first day in Baton Rouge. Fueled by three birdies against one bogey, McCumber was able to collect his third consecutive round under par. Vogel recorded four birdies against two bogeys for his best round since the opening round at the Chris Schenkel Invitational on March 15. The All-SEC duo currently shares the lead with Alabama’s Scott Strohmeyer.

    “T.J. had a solid round and never was in trouble,” said Alexander.

    After recording a double bogey on the par-five 17th hole, sophomore Eric Banks (Truro, Canada) recorded his sixth birdie of the day on the final hole en route to a 72 (E) at the par-72, 7,436 yard course. It marked his seventh round at or under par this season, which is tied for fourth on the squad. Banks is currently tied for sixth place.

    Senior Tommy Mou (Bradenton, Fla.) scored a 74 (+2) for the first round of the regional tournament. He is in a tie for 13th place after the first 18 holes of play.

    Sophomore J.D. Tomlinson (Gainesville, Fla.) was the final Gator to compete at the University Club. Tomlinson tallied a 77 (+5) for the first day.

    “It was a solid start,” Alexander stated. “Hopefully, we can continue it because it has been a long time coming.”

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    TIGERS TIE FOR SEVENTH PLACE AFTER FIRST ROUND AT BATON ROUGE REGIONAL

    BATON ROUGE – The 17th-ranked and No. 3-seeded LSU Tigers wrapped up Thursday’s opening round at the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional just three shots out of qualifying position for the NCAA Championships after posting a team score of 15-over par 303 at the University Club to tie for seventh place in the overall team standings.

    The top five teams after three rounds at the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional will qualify for the 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships being held May 27-June 2 at Capital City Club in Atlanta, Ga.

    The 10th-ranked and No. 2-seeded Florida Gators were the only team to tame the University Club during Thursday’s action while jumping out to a 10-shot lead over the rest of the field with their 2-under par 286 for the afternoon. Second-ranked and No. 1-seeded Alabama  finished the day in a tie for second place with No. 8 seed South Alabama with opening scores of 8-over par 296.

    Rounding out the top five of the team standings were No. 5 seed Houston and No. 7 seed Tennessee in a tie for fourth place overall with matching scores of at 12-over par 300.

    The Tigers wrapped up the round in a tie for seventh place with No. 6 seed Northwestern as they find themselves just three shots out of NCAA Championships qualification at 15-over 303 for the championship. Coastal Carolina posted a team score of 14-over 302 to finish the day alone in sixth place as the No. 9 seed in the tournament.

    Sophomore First-Team All-SEC performer Curtis Thompson was the lone Tiger to crack the Top 20 of the leaderboard in the first round as he posted a team-leading 3-over par 75 during Thursday’s action to end the day in a tie for 19th place overall. Thompson was even par on his round through 15 holes, but made bogey on the par-three 16th, par-five 17th and par-four 18th holes for a final score of 3-over 75.

    Thompson recently earned his first career All-SEC honor with a first-team selection after emerging as one of the nation’s premier performers during his sophomore season with the Tigers in 2012-13.

    Sophomores Stewart Jolly and Myles Lewis and freshman Zach Wright each carded matching rounds of 4-over par 76 to round out the scoring for the Tigers in the first round. The Tiger trio wrapped up the first round in a tie for 32nd place in the individual standings and six shots off the pace set by the early leaders.

    Junior Second-Team All-SEC selection Andrew Presley tied for 74th place with his score of 13-over par 85 on the opening day of the tournament.

    All-SEC performers Tyler McCumber and TJ Vogel powered the Gators to an early lead as they tied Alabama’s Scott Strohmeyer for first place in the race for the regional title with opening scores of 2-under par 70 on an exceptionally difficult day of scoring at the University Club. Only five of the 75 players in the field broke par on Thursday afternoon.

    South Alabama’s Lane Hulse and Houston’s Curtis Reed round out the top five of the leaderboard in a tie for fourth place with their first-round scores of 1-under par 71.

    Georgia State’s Jonathan Grey is currently positioned to qualify for the NCAA Championships as an individual as he fired his even-par 72 to finish the day in a tie for sixth place on the leaderboard. The top individual not among the top five teams in the final team standings will earn a spot in the field for the 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships in two weeks.

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    Alabama Men’s Golf Tied for Second after First Round of NCAA Regional

    BATON ROUGE, La. – The second-ranked Alabama men’s golf team found the back nine at the University Club of Baton Rouge much more difficult than the front nine and is 10 shots out of the lead of the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional after 18 holes on Thursday.

    The Crimson Tide made the turn in the lead at 5-under par on the par-72, 7,436-yard University Club, but a 13-over-par total on the back nine left Alabama in a tie for second place with South Alabama. Florida has the first-round lead at 2-under-par 286. Houston and Tennessee are tied for fourth at 12-over-par 300. Coastal Carolina is one position out of qualifying for NCAAs at 14-over 302.

    The top five teams at the end of 54 holes will advance to the NCAA Championships on May 28-June 2 on the Crabapple Course at the Capital City Club in Woodstock, Ga.

    We got off to a great start,” Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said. “The wind picked up and the course starting playing much more difficult and we just didn’t handle it the way we should. We hand to count a few doubles and a quad coming in and that kind of changed our score.”

    Senior Scott Strohmeyer paced the Alabama attack on Thursday with a 2-under-par round of 70 that leaves him in a three-way tie for the lead with Florida’s Tyler McCumber and T.J. Vogel. Strohmeyer, from Auburn, Ala., actually got to 5-under par through 11 holes before three bogeys down the stretch left him at 2-under 70. He made birdie on the third, fourth, sixth 10th and 11th holes with bogeys on the 13th, 14th and 16th.

    “Scott really stepped up with a big round today; he played great,” Seawell said. “He posted one of the low scores of the day and was really solid all day. Every time I turned around he was hitting a good shot, even got it to 5-under par. The golf course is really hard and for him to be under par gives the whole team confidence. It was a great senior leadership day.”

    Sophomore Justin Thomas was steady throughout his round and posted a 1-over-par 73. He is tied for eighth after recording three birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey.

    Juniors Bobby Wyatt and Cory Whitsett were the real victims of the back nine on Thursday. Wyatt, from Mobile, Ala., was 3-under at the turn before making bogey on the 11th, double bogey on the 12th, birdie on the 15th and closing bogey, double bogey, bogey on the 16th, 17th and 18th holes for a 3-over 75 and is tied for 20th.

    Whitsett, a native of Houston, Texas, was even par through 11 holes. His trouble began with back-to-back-to-back bogeys on holes 12, 13 and 14. However, the real trouble came with a quadruple bogey on the par-4, 365-yard 15th hole. He bounced back with a birdie on the difficult par-3 16th hole to finish with a 78. Whitsett is tied for 49th. Trey Mullinax shot 10-over 82 and is tied for 66th.

    Alabama will tee off at 9:10 a.m. on Friday in the second round of the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional. The Crimson Tide will be paired with Florida and South Alabama in round two.

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    Bulldogs Wrap Up Day One Of NCAA Regional
     
    Baton Rouge, La. – Junior Chad Ramey fired a 3-over-par 75 Thursday to sit one stroke out of the Top 15 following opening-round play at the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional.
     
    The Fulton native ended the first round in 20th place at the University Club course, leading a 23rd-ranked Mississippi State squad that shot a 22-over 310 to place 12th.
     
    “It was a tough day for us,” Coach Clay Homan said. “This is a very tough golf course that demands accuracy into the greens. We missed several approach shots in places where we couldn’t recover. However, this thing is far from over. We just need to get some positive momentum tomorrow and put together a solid round. Every team out here is going to have their share of difficulties on this course.”
     
    No. 10 Florida set the pace for round one with a 2-under 286. Second-ranked Alabama and No. 47 South Alabama turned in identical 296 cards to tie for second. The top five teams from each regional advance to the May 28- June 2 NCAA Championship in Atlanta.
     
    Junior Axel Boasson carded 4-over 76 placed to tie for 32nd, while teammate Joe Sakulpolphaisan tied for 54th following a 7-over 79.
     
    Junior Barrett Edens sits in a tie for 59th following an 8-over 80, while senior Robi Calvesbert enters Friday’s second round tied for 62nd after carding an opening-round 81 (+9).

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    Bulldogs Stand Fourth In NCAA's Tempe Regional

    TEMPE, Ariz. --- Led by freshman Lee McCoy, the 15th-ranked Georgia men's golf team opened the NCAA's Tempe Regional with an even-par 280 on Thursday at the ASU Karsten Golf Course.

    The Bulldogs and five other teams are tied for fourth place at 280, 12 shots behind third-ranked UCLA. Following 54 holes of competition, the top five teams from the regional will advance to the NCAA Championships, which will be held May 28-June 2 at the Capital City Club's Crabapple Course in Alpharetta. The Bulldogs are only two strokes out of second place heading into Friday's round.

    "It was a good start for us," Georgia coach Chris Haack said. "We as players and coaches always want more, but we were solid enough out of the gate. We're right in the mix. We knew this would be a tough three-day tournament, so we need to keep plugging away to keep ourselves in contention."

    McCoy paced the Bulldogs on Thursday as he signed for a 2-under 68. McCoy is sixth individually, four shots behind UCLA's Pontus Widegren and Austin Peay's Dustin Korte. Senior T.J. Mitchell followed at 1-under 69, while junior Joey Garber had an even-par 70, and junior Keith Mitchell and sophomore Nicholas Reach each posted 3-over 73s.

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    Razorbacks in Fifth at Fayetteville Regional

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A trio of University of Arkansas men’s golfers shot even par on Thursday during the first round of the NCAA Fayetteville Regional at Blessings to lead the No. 12 Razorbacks to fifth place after 18 holes of competition.  Senior Austin Cook, junior Sebastian Cappelen and freshman Taylor Moore are each tied for 11th individually as they look to lead the Razorbacks back to the NCAA Championship.
               
    The Razorbacks had an up-and-down day on the course, struggling early, correcting their errors, struggling again, before playing the final three holes at seven-under par collectively.  The Razorbacks were as low as 12th in the team standings midway through the round before battling back to fifth.
               
    “It was a bit of a roller coaster today,” Arkansas head coach Brad McMakin said.  “We grinded it out and got back to two-over par as a team and are right back in the mix.  Illinois had a tremendous day, but we are still just eight strokes back with 36 holes left and on this course you can make that up if you play smart and avoid mistakes.  We counted two triple and two double bogeys today which is unlike us, yet we are still in position to make it to the national championship, so I feel pretty good overall.”
               
    Illinois entered the clubhouse as the team leader, shooting an astounding six-under par as a team.  Charlie Danielson led the way for the Illini with a score of seven-under par individually to put himself atop the leaderboard.  No. 4 Texas shot three-under par as a team followed by No. 16 Oklahoma State at two-under and No. 28 Kent State at even par.  Colorado is two strokes behind the Razorbacks in sixth place.
               
    Playing in his first NCAA Regional, Moore shook off early nerves to shoot Arkansas’ most consistent round.  The Edmond, Okla., native was one-under par as he made the turn with birdies on two of the three par fives on the front side.  He played the back at one-over par with another birdie on a par five.  On the five par fives, Moore was three-under par for the day matching the third best score for the longest holes.
               
    The elder statesman of the group, Cook was two-over par through three holes, but found his stroke at No. 8, a hole that began a string of three straight birdies and four birdies over five holes to move to two-under par.  No. 13 got the best of Cook as he marked a triple bogey on the par four and another bogey on No. 15 had his score up to two-over par.  Cook came back with a fantastic eagle on the par five 16th to get back to even par and sank a pair of par putts to end his round.
               
    The even rounds of par continued with Cappelen who sank a pair of birdies over his final three holes to also get back to even par.  One-over par at the turn, Cappelen carded three bogeys and two birdies over the opening nine holes.  The Dane sank a birdie on No. 11 to get back to even, but an errant tee shot on No. 13 put his ball between trees and led to a double bogey on the hole.  Undeterred by the setback, Cappelen sank birdie putts on No. 16 and No. 17 to close the round.
               
    Sophomore Thomas Sorensen was on his way to a high score midway through the day, but battled back to make four birdies over the final seven holes to shoot two-over par and notch Arkansas’ final scoring position.  A triple bogey on the par five, ninth was followed by a bogey on No. 10 and a double bogey on No. 11 putting him at six-over par.  He then sank back-to-back-to-back birdies on No. 12, No. 13 and No. 14, then another birdie on No. 16 to drop his score and finished the round with a pair of pars.
               
    Arkansas’ fifth player on Thursday was freshman Nicolas Echavarria who also battled some nerves but ended strong to post a score of four-over par.  Seven pars and two bogeys on the front nine gave Echavarria a score of two-over par at the turn.  His score increased to six-over par after a pair of bogeys to start the back nine and a double bogey on No. 14.  Back-to-back birdies on No. 15 and No. 16 were followed by two pars and he concluded his round at 76, four-over par.

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    No. 18 Auburn Men’s Golf in Fifth After First Round at NCAA Regional
     
    COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 18 Auburn men’s golf team is six shots off the lead and in fifth after shooting a 9-over 293 in the first round of play on Thursday at the NCAA Columbus Regional at the Ohio State Golf Club’s Scarlet Course.
     
    Charlotte leads the field with at 287 followed by No. 20 South Carolina at 288. No. 8 Stanford is in third at 291 while UNLV is in fourth with a 292. Missouri and No. 5 New Mexico are tied for sixth at 294, followed by San Francisco (297), Georgia Southern (298), Texas Tech (299), Virginia (303), Chattanooga (304) and Valparaiso (309).
     
    "We played the par 5s today 6-over, and we just can't do that,” Auburn head coach Nick Clinard said. “It is too strong of a field to give away shots there. However, we are still within striking distance after the first day. We need to let the game come to us and come back strong Friday."
     
    Senior Dominic Bozzelli paces Auburn and is tied for eighth after shooting an even-71. Bozzelli birdied No. 3 to make the turn at 1-under before moving to 2-under with a birdie on No. 10. Following a double bogey on No. 13, the Pittsford, N.Y. native birdied No. 14, but bogeyed No. 15 to finish at even-par.
     
    Sophomore Michael Johnson is tied for 10th with a 1-over 72. Johnson started off the round with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 1 and 2, but bogeyed No. 9 to make the turn at 1-under. On the back-9, Johnson bogeyed Nos. 14 and 17.
     
    Junior Niclas Carlsson and freshman Jake Mondy are tied for 32nd at 4-over. After a double bogey on No. 7, Carlsson birdied No. 10 to move to 1-over, but bogeyed Nos. 12, 15 and 16.
     
    Mondy began the round with a birdie on No. 1, but bogeyed No. 2 before back-to-back bogeys on 5 and 6. On the back-9, the Blacksburg, Va. native bogeyed No. 12 and No. 17. Senior Michael Hebert is tied for 62nd after carding a 7-over 78.

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    Men’s Golf in 12th after Round One of NCAA Regional

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Kentucky men’s golf team wrapped up round one of the 2013 NCAA Fayetteville Regional on Thursday, firing at 16-over-par, 304. The Wildcats are in 12th place in the 54-hole stroke play event held at Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Ark.

    Illinois leads the 14-team regional field at 6-under-par. Texas (-3), Oklahoma State (-2), Kent State (E) and Arkansas (+2) round out the top-5. The top-5 finishing schools will advance to the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship at the Capital City Club, Crabapple Course in Atlanta, Ga., May 28-June 2.
                                                                
    Senior Chase Parker played well for the Wildcats in round one, shooting a team-best 1-over-par, 73. The Augusta, Ga., native sank a team-high three birdies, while recording 11 pars on the afternoon. Parker is tied for 20th on the leaderboard.

    Junior Stephen Powers had a rough start to his day, beginning 5-over through the first 15 holes. The Naperville, Ill., native recovered with an eagle on the par-5 16th hole and a birdie on the 17th to finish 3-over-par on Friday. Powers is tied for 39th.

    Juniors Cody Martin and Ben Stow both fired a 6-over-par, 78 and are tied for 52nd. Martin tallied two birdies on Friday to go along with the Wildcats’ second eagle on the 16th hole to highlight his round. Stow charted a team-best 12 pars and had a birdie on the par-4 11th hole.

    Sophomore Will Bishop had two birdies on Friday and is tied for 60th in the tournament at 8-over-par.