Texas Tech Wraps Up First Round at NCAA Championships
May 26, 2009
TOLEDO, Ohio - The battle for one of eight coveted match play positions began Tuesday at the NCAA Men's Golf Championships at Inverness Club in Toledo, Ohio, and the Red Raiders left themselves a little work to do in the remaining 36 holes of stroke play. Texas Tech finished the opening round with a 19-over 303 and stand in 21st place.
"We definitely have our work cut out for us," senior Garrett Merrell said. "We are a good enough team that if we play how we're capable, then we should have a chance at making the cut."
The 17th-ranked Red Raiders, along with Central Florida and Oregon, were the first teams to tee off Tuesday morning. Fifteen teams total played in the morning session and fought through periods of intermittent rain and breezy, cool conditions.
"The weather conditions were exactly what we expected," senior Santiago Rivas said. "However, everyone (teams) has to play through it. We had a really good practice round as a team and everybody was focused and doing the right things. We'll be better tomorrow."
Junior Chris Ward capped Tuesday's round with a birdie on No. 18, softening the blow of his first double-bogey in over three rounds he suffered on the previous hole. Ward last carded a double in the final round at the Big 12 Championships in late April. He finished today's round with a 4-over 75 and stands tied in 55th place.
The Red Raiders were 11-over on the front nine, but settled down on the back. Ward finished the back at 1-over, while freshman Brian Scherer, Merrell and Rivas each shot 2-over. Merrell, Scherer and sophomore Nils Floren each carded 5-over 76s for the round, while Rivas' 78 was not counted in the team score.
"I thought we had our moments of good golf and our moments of not-so-good golf, but I'm still proud of the guys, and there's no doubt in my mind that we can still go play well in the last two rounds to get into that top eight," Texas Tech Head Coach Greg Sands said. "We know where we stand now and we know what we have to do. I really feel like the guys will respond. We've got to be patient, and that's the one thing maybe we didn't do so well today."
Among the teams trailing the Red Raiders are (2) Southern California, (5) Stanford, (8) Florida, (24) Texas and defending national champion (19) UCLA. (4) Oklahoma State and (1) Georgia lead the event with 4-over 288s, while (28) Chattanooga is third at 8-over. Washington and San Diego are tied in fourth place at 9-over. (14) Arizona State, (20) Tennessee and Ohio State are tied in sixth place at 10-over.
Northwestern's Jonathan Bowers, Illinois' Scott Langley and N.C. State's Matt Hill, the nation's fourth-ranked golfer, lead the event with 2-under 69s.
The top eight teams after 54 holes will advance to match play and compete for the team national championship, beginning Friday. The individual champion will be crowned following the three rounds of stroke play that wraps up Thursday at a banquet that evening that will feature Jack Nicklaus as the guest speaker.
Round two for Texas Tech gets underway Wednesday at 12:12 p.m. ET. The Red Raiders will again play with Central Florida and Oregon. The field will be reseeded for the third and final round of stroke play. For complete results and up-to-the-minute live scoring, log-on to www.golfstat.com.
TEAM STANDINGS (Top 8) 1. Oklahoma State 288 (+4) 2. Georgia 288 (+4) 3. Chattanooga 292 (+8) 4. San Diego 293 (+9) Washington 293 (+9) 6. Arizona State 294 (+10) Ohio State 294 (+10) Tennessee 294 (+10) 21. Texas Tech 303 (+19)