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    NCAA Golf Regional Report: Friday

    THOMPSON BREAKS PAR TO LEAD TIGERS INTO TOP FIVE AT NCAA BATON ROUGE REGIONAL
     
    BATON ROUGE – Led by a team-low 1-under par 71 by sophomore Curtis Thompson in Friday’s second round at the University Club, the 17th-ranked and No. 3-seeded LSU men’s golf team finds itself on the cusp of NCAA Championships qualification after wrapping up the day in a tie for fifth place overall at the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional.
     
    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.
     
    Thompson teamed with fellow sophomore Stewart Jolly to pace the Tigers on a steamy Friday afternoon at the University Club as LSU moved up two spots in the team standings into a tie for fifth place with No. 9 seed Coastal Carolina with matching 36-hole scores of 21-over par 597. The Tigers posted a team score of 6-over 294 in the second round to position themselves for NCAA qualification.
     
    The 10th-ranked and No. 2-seeded Florida Gators continue to lead the championship with a 36-hole score of 2-over par 578, followed by second-ranked and No. 1-seeded Alabama in second place at 10-over par 586.
     
    The Tigers will tee off in Saturday’s final round in a tight four-way battle with No. 5 seed Houston, No. 8 seed South Alabama and No. 9 seed Coastal Carolina for three spots into the NCAA Championships as each squad is within four shots of one another with just 18 holes to play. South Alabama sits in third place with a two-day total of 17-over 593, followed by Houston in fourth place at 20-over 596 and LSU and Coastal Carolina in a tie for fifth place overall at 21-over 597 for the regional championship.
     
    The No. 7-seeded Tennessee Volunteers are also poised for a strong finish to the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional as they will tee off Saturday morning seven shots out of fifth place in seventh place at 28-over 604.
     
    “We were able to finish the round today,” said LSU head coach Chuck Winstead following the round. “We’re certainly better than the way we played yesterday. I think today was more representative of a typical round for our team on a hard golf course. We were certainly better than yesterday, but not as good as we need to be. We look forward to getting back out here for another round tomorrow.
     
    “This thing’s not over. It’s the bottom of the sixth inning and we have three more innings to play, one more round, to come out here and compete and see how it goes.”
     
    Thompson fired a 1-under 71 and Jolly carded a 1-over 73 to lead the Tigers into the top five of the team standings on another difficult day of scoring at the University Club during Friday’s second round.
     
    Thompson raced out to a fast start on his round with back-to-back birdies on his first two holes of the day at the par-four 10th and par-five 11th holes to quickly drop to 2-under par. He then made the turn at even-par in his round while trading shots with birdies at the par-three 16th and par-five 17th holes along with bogeys at the par-three 13th and par-four 15th holes and a double bogey at the par-four 18th hole.
     
    He dipped back into red figures on the front nine with a birdie at the par-four second hole before again trading shots with a bogey at the par-four seventh hole and a birdie at the par-four ninth hole to wrap up the day with a team-low score of 1-under par 71 in 18 holes. That performance vaulted Thompson into a tie for seventh place on the leaderboard with a 36-hole score of 2-over 146.
     
    A sophomore from Coral Springs, Fla., Thompson has his sights set on a first top-10 finish in NCAA Regional competition in his second career regional appearance as an LSU Tiger.
     
    “I played well today. I putted a lot better than yesterday,” Thompson said. “I scrambled a little bit out there, but worked through it and made a few more birdies. It was all about getting the putts to fall. I made just one birdie yesterday, and today I made six. We certainly played better today. We’ll be ready to come back out here and play again tomorrow.”
     
    After teeing off Friday morning in a tie for 32nd place on the leaderboard, Jolly’s performance moved him into the Top 20 of the standings into a tie for 18th place overall with a 1-over 73 in the second round and a 5-over 149 in two days of action at the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional. Jolly finds himself just three shots out of the Top 10 heading into Saturday’s final round.
     
    Jolly was steady throughout, carding a pair of birdies at the par-three eighth and par-five 11th holes along with a double bogey at No. 6 and a bogey at No. 12 en route to a 1-over par 73 for the afternoon.
     
    Sophomore Myles Lewis and freshman Zach Wright have matched one another shot for shot at this year’s NCAA Baton Rouge Regional while posting matching rounds of 4-over par 76 on Thursday and 3-over par 75 for Friday to tie one another for 27th place on the individual leaderboard at 7-over par 151 for the championship.
     
    Junior All-SEC performer Andrew Presley rebounded from his 13-over 85 in the first round with a 4-over 76 in the second round to finish the day in a tie for 65th place at 17-over 161 for 36 holes.
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    Georgia Golfers Improve To Third In Tempe Regional

    TEMPE, Ariz. --- With freshman Lee McCoy leading the way, the 15th-ranked Georgia men's golf team improved its standing in the NCAA's Tempe Regional on Friday at the ASU Karsten Golf Course.

    McCoy fired a 3-under 67 and the Bulldogs finished at 6-under 274 on Friday to improve to third place with a score of 6-under 554. Following Saturday's final round, 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.

    UCLA has the team lead at 19-under 541, followed by Central Florida at 8-under 552 and the Bulldogs at 6-under 554. Texas A&M is alone in fourth at 3-under 557, while Arizona and Duke are tied for fifth at 2-under 558 and North Carolina is lurking at 1-over 561.

    "There's still a lot of golf left to be played," Georgia coach Chris Haack said. "We had a good day today, but it won't mean a thing if we don't close out well on Saturday. There are a lot of teams within striking distance of the top five. Our focus has to continue to be on good course management and making smart decisions."

    McCoy's 67 pushed him to 5-under 135 for the tournament. He is in third place individually as Central Florida's Greg Eason holds the lead at 12-under 128. McCoy played the front nine even with three birdies and three bogeys, but he was 3-under on the back nine with an eagle (on the par-5 15th covering 527 yards), three birdies and two bogeys.

    "Lee has been solid these first two days," Haack said. "Freshmen often don't play well on this stage because of what's at stake, but that hasn't been the case with him. He looks like a seasoned veteran out there."

    Also on Friday, the Bulldogs counted a 2-under 68 from sophomore Nicholas Reach, a 1-under 69 from junior Keith Mitchell and an even-par 70 from junior Joey Garber. Senior T.J. Mitchell's 6-over 76 was Georgia's drop score. Garber moved to even-par 140, followed by Reach at 1-over 141, Keith Mitchell at 2-over 142 and T.J. Mitchell at 5-over 145.
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    Florida Remains in First after Two Rounds at the NCAA South Regional

    BATON ROUGE, La. - Sparked by the top-three players on the individual leaderboard, the University of Florida men's golf team is in first place after two rounds at the NCAA South Regional in Baton Rouge, La. on Friday, May 17. The Gators recorded a 292 (+4) for the second round at the University Club and lead second place Alabama by eight strokes heading into tomorrow's third and final round.

    "First of all, we have three guys playing up a storm," head coach Buddy Alexander stated. "We are in a good spot with a chance to win and a good spot to qualify."

    Sophomore Eric Banks (Truro, Canada) and senior T.J. Vogel (Cooper City, Fla.) paced the Gators on the second day of competition. Both Banks and Vogel scored a 71 (-1) on Friday. It marked Banks' first round under par since the second round of the Gary Koch Invitational on April 8. At one-under par through two rounds, Banks is tied for third place. Fueled by two consecutive rounds under par, Vogel is on top of the individual leaderboard at three-under par.

    Senior captain Tyler McCumber (Cooper City, Fla.) finished at even-par on Friday at the par-72, 7,436 yard course. For the fourth straight round, McCumber finished at or under par. He is two-under for the tournament and in second place.

    "This is uncharted waters for Eric Banks," Alexander commented. "T.J. Vogel and Tyler McCumber have been there before. Tyler could actually be going for his first win in his collegiate career tomorrow."

    Classmate J.D. Tomlinson (Gainesville, Fla.) registered a 78 (+6) for the second round of the event. The Gainesville, Fla. native is 11-over par through two rounds.

    Senior Tommy Mou (Bradenton, Fla.) rounded out the Gators' lineup on the second day of competition at the University Club in Baton Rouge. Mou recorded an 82 (+10) and is 12-over par through the first two rounds of the regional tournament.
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    Gamecocks Tied for Lead at NCAA Columbus Regional

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The 20th-ranked South Carolina men’s golf team posted a second-round 296 (+12) on Friday to move into a tie for the lead at the NCAA Columbus Regional at the Ohio State University Golf Club.

    The Gamecocks are tied with UNLV with a total of 584 (+16) with 18 holes remaining. Auburn (586) and Stanford (586) are two strokes back in a tie for third, and Texas Tech (587) and New Mexico (587) are three strokes off the pace in a tie for fifth. The top five teams and top individual not on those teams will advance to the NCAA Championship. Carolina took the lead from Charlotte early in the round and led by as many as six strokes late in the day but it struggled down the stretch to create separation from the field.

    “Today was a frustrating in that we had a chance to really separate from the field and we just struggled on the back nine to make pars,” South Carolina head coach Bill McDonald said. “We have a great opportunity tomorrow to redeem ourselves and win the golf tournament.”

    For the second-straight round, freshman Will Starke was solid for the Gamecocks as he shot a 2-over 73 to remain in a tie for second with a total of 141 (-1). He is tied with Texas Tech’s Matias Domingeuz and trails UNLV’s Carl Jonson (140) by a stroke for the tournament lead. A native of Chapin, S.C., Starke opened his round with a birdie on the first but followed it up with a double bogey on No. 2. He then birdied the par-5 fourth to get back to even and made the turn with a 36 (E). After making birdie on the 10th to get to 1-under, he bogeyed three out of his final eight holes to close out the day at 2-over.

    SEC Freshman of the Year Matt NeSmith bounced back from an opening-round 75 (+4) to shoot an even-par 71 on Friday to lead the way. NeSmith wrapped up the day in a tie for 16th with a total of 146 (+4). On the front nine, he recorded birdies on the fourth and seventh holes to get to 2-under before making back-to-back bogeys on holes eight and nine to make the turn at ever. After tallying another birdie on the 10th and bogeying the 11th, he closed out his round with seven straight pars.

    Sophomore Sean Kelly carded a 6-over 77 but remains in the hunt for a top-20 finish as he concluded the day in a tie for 25th with a total of 149 (+7). After making the turn at 1-over 37, Kelly made an eagle on the par-4 10th to get to 1-under. However, he bogeyed seven out of his final eight holes to drop back to 6-over heading into the clubhouse.

    Sophomore Caleb Sturgeon turned in his second-straight round of 75 (+4) to move into a tie for 33rd with a total of 150 (+8). He recorded three birdies, five bogeys and a double bogey on the afternoon.

    Senior Dykes Harbin, whose round was highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 12th, shot an 80 (+9) to finish the day in a tie for 56th.
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    Alabama Second after Two Rounds at NCAA Baton Rouge Regional
     
    BATON ROUGE, La. – The second-ranked Alabama men’s golf team fired the lowest score in the 13-team field during the second round of the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional on Friday at the par-72, 7,436-yard University Club with a 2-over-par 290.
     
    The Crimson Tide assumed control of second place on the leaderboard at 10-over-par 586, eight strokes behind leader Florida who shot 4-over 292 on Friday. South Alabama slipped to third with a 9-over 297 that leaves them seven shots back of the Tide at 17-over 593. Houston is fourth at 20-over 596 with host LSU and Coastal Carolina tied for fifth at 21-over 597.
     
    The top five teams at the end Saturday’s third and final round will advance to the NCAA Championships on May 28-June 2 on the Crabapple Course at the Capital City Club in Woodstock, Ga.
     
    “I thought everyone played really well,” Alabama head coach Jay Seawell said. “It was nice to have everyone around par most of the day, and they battled hard. We are starting to get a better understanding of the golf course; the knowledge is starting to come.
     
    “I was proud of how we played today, especially Trey with a nice bounce back round. That was huge for him and for us.”
     
    All five Alabama scores ranged between even-par 72 and 3-over 75 in round two. Sophomore Justin Thomas and junior Trey Mullinax carded even-par rounds while junior Bobby Wyatt and senior Scott Strohmeyer shot 1-over 73.
     
    Mullinax, a junior from Birmingham, Ala., played the first 10 holes in 3-over par but an eagle on the par-5 11th hole turned his fortunes around. He followed with six straight pars and birdie on the par-4 closing hole for a round of 72. After struggling with an 82 in the opening round, Mullinax’s even-par round moved him into a tie for 39th at 10-over 154.
     
    Stohmeyer, who was tied for the lead entering the round, finished the day tied for third at 1-under-par 143. He is two shots back of Florida’s TJ Vogel and one stroke back of the Gator’s Tyler McCumber. Strohmeyer’s scorecard was busy again in round two, making five birdies, six bogeys seven pars.
     
    Thomas, a sophomore from Goshen, Ky., got off to a fast starter with three birdies on his first six holes before reeling off eight consecutive pars. He carded back-to-back bogeys on the 16th and 17th holes and finished his round on the first hole with a bogey. His even-par round leaves him 1-over 145 and tied for fifth.
     
    Wyatt is tied for 14th individually with a 4-over-par 148 after 36 holes on the University Club layout. Cory Whitsett’s 3-over 75 was dropped from the team total in round two.  
     
    Alabama will tee off at 8:40 a.m. on Saturday in the final round of the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional. The Crimson Tide will be paired with Florida and South Alabama once again in the final round.
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    Razorbacks Vault to Top of Leaderboard

    FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – On a day when scores were high across the board the No. 12 University of Arkansas men’s golf team went low moving from fifth place as a team into the lead at the NCAA Fayetteville Regional at Blessings on Friday.  Senior Austin Cook carded a bogey free round of four-under par to put himself in a three-way tie for first individually.
               
    The Razorbacks, the only team to shoot under par on Friday, shot a combined five-under par as a team to take their team total to three-under par.  Illinois, who led after the first day, shot four-over par on Friday to finish 36 holes at two-under par, one stroke behind the Razorbacks.  No. 4 Texas is at seven-over par as a team after a round of 10-over on Friday followed by No. 16 Oklahoma State (+14) and No. 28 Kent State (+15).  The top five teams at the regional advance to the NCAA Championship.
               
    “Our guys played great today,” Arkansas head coach Brad McMakin said.  “Conditions and pin placements were tough today and that was reflected in the team scores.  We were able to make shots and stay out of trouble for the most part and avoid the big numbers that hurt us on Thursday.  Austin played a phenomenal round.  No bogeys on a day like today is great golf and I could tell in warm ups that he was ready.  Now we need to finish it out on Saturday and earn a spot at the NCAA Championship.”
               
    Rarely in trouble throughout the second round, Cook was able to help himself out the few times he did find some adversity.  On the par five, 12th, Cook’s second shot found a fairway bunker, but he calmly knocked it out on his next shot and landed the ball within 10 feet of the hole to make a birdie on a whole that could have been much worse.  Cook was three-under par on the five par five holes and carded his fourth birdie on the par three, 240-yard 17th.  Cook’s round of 68 moved him from a tie for 11th up to a tie for first where he sits with Mario Clemens of SMU and Mitchell McLeroy of Stephen F. Austin.  All three players are four-under par for the tournament.
               
    Stepping up on day two was freshman Nicolas Echavarria who went from not scoring in day one to a two-under par score on Friday, shooting 70.  Getting off to a fast start, Echavarria birdied two of his first three holes, but a lost tee shot on No. 4 ended in a double bogey putting him back at even par.  He would bogey No. 9 to make the turn at one-over.  On the back side, Echavarria was on point with just about every shot, sinking four birdie putts and making just a single bogey on No. 18.  His second day score moved him from 44th overall into a tie for 17th.
               
    Freshman Taylor Moore also played well for the Razorbacks on Friday as he carded his second round of even par to end the day tied for eighth individually.  A pair of birdie-bogey combinations on the front nine placed him at the turn at even par.  He would again sink two birdies and two bogeys on the back nine, taking advantage of the par five holes on the second half of the course to get to his final score.
               
    SEC Champion Sebastian Cappelen battled back from a double bogey on the first hole of the day to shoot one-over par for the round.  After his ill-fated first hole, Cappelen birdied two of his next three holes to get back to even par, but back-to-back bogeys had him back at two over.  He made the turn at one-over par following a birdie on the par three, eighth, which preceded six straight pars.  Back-to-back birdies on No. 15 and No. 16 were followed by a pair of bogeys to end the round at 73 placing the junior in a tie for 11th individually.
               
    Sophomore Thomas Sorensen struggled with his shot for most of the day, leading the second-year player to a score of eight-over par, 80.  Two birdies, seven bogeys and a triple bogey lined the Dane’s card as he made the turn at three-over par before ending it at plus five for the final nine holes.

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    Edens’ Solid Second Round Pushes MSU To 10th At NCAA Regional
     
    Baton Rouge, La. – Junior Barrett Edens’ 73 helped the No. 23 Mississippi State men’s golf team move into 10th place following Friday’s second round at the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional.
     
    The Bulldogs fired a 302 on Friday at The University Club, an eight-shot improvement from the first round. No. 10 Florida tops the leaderboard with a 2-over-par 612. The Top 5 teams advance to next week’s NCAA Championships in Atlanta.
     
    Edens shaved seven shots off his opening-round score to move into a tie for 34th place with teammate Chad Ramey at 9-over (153). After carding an opening-round 75 on Thursday, Ramey shot a 78 on Friday.
     
    Junior Joe Sakulpolphaisan made a four-stroke improvement in the second round, carding a 75 to move into a tie for 39th with a 10-over 154.
     
    Senior Robi Calvesbert shot a 76 in the second round after opening play with an 81 on Thursday. Calvesbert enters Saturday’s final round tied for 54th place with a 13-over 157.
     
    Axel Boasson rounded out the Maroon and White scoring, carding an 82 to fall into a 58th-place tie at 14-over (158).