May 16, 2008
Columbus, Ohio – Cameron Tringale and Taylor Hall led Georgia Tech to a 15-over-par 299 Friday, eight shots better than its opening round, but the eighth-ranked Yellow Jackets remain a long shot to advance out of the NCAA Central Regional in Columbus, Ohio.
Tech enters the final day of the regional tied for 20th place with Texas-Arlington at 38-over-par 606, nine shots out of 10th place. The top 10 finishers following Saturday’s final round will advance to the NCAA Division I Championship May 28-31 in West Lafayette, Ind.
The No. 3 seed at the Ohio State University Scarlet Course, head coach Bruce Heppler’s team finds its 10-year streak of advancing to the NCAA Championship in jeopardy, as well as its perfect 17-for-17 mark of advancing through regional qualifiers. The Yellow Jackets hope to make a charge Saturday when they tee off at 12:12 p.m.
“I thought we played decently today,” Heppler said. “We just didn’t finish up some of the holes that were difficult. We played well enough to finish three or four over par, but we didn’t finish enough holes. We’re going to go out tomorrow afternoon, and the number (to advance) will already be there. We’ve got to go shoot a (great) round, like we shot the final day at the ACC Championship.”
Tringale and Hall each posted 3-over-par 74s Friday, collectively 10 strikes better than their opening rounds Thursday. David Dragoo improved to a 5-over 76, and Chesson Hadley shot 4-over 75. Those four players combined to make only three birdies during a round that began in light rain and was played in a stiff breeze from start to finish. J.T. Griffin was Tech’s non-counter with a 77.
All 12 teams that played in the morning wave finished in double digits over par on the 7,419-yard, par 71 Scarlet Course. Texas A&M, at 10-over, had the best score. Tech’s score Friday beat six teams and tied two others among those 12, and was better than 13 of the 27 teams in the field, but the Jackets were able to climb only one spot in the team standings. The Jackets’ playing partners, Alabama and Oklahoma State, were 11-over and 15-over, respectively, on Friday.
Wake Forest, the only other Atlantic Coast Conference team in the Central Regional, extended its lead Friday with a 3-over-par 287. The Demon Deacons stand at 9-over-par 577 for the tournament, 10 strokes ahead of the Crimson Tide (+19). Rounding out the top 10 are Illinois and Penn State (tied at +22), Eastern Kentucky (+23), Texas A&M and Oklahoma State (tied at +24), Florida and Louisville (tied at +26), Kent State and Indiana (tied at +29).
Individually, Oklahoma State’s Kevin Tway shot a 2-under-par 69 to take over the lead at 3-under 139. First round leader Brendan Gielow of Wake Forest shot a 72 and is two shots behind at 1-under 141, while Deacon teammates Dustin Groves (even) and Webb Simpson (+1) occupy third and fourth place, respectively.
Hadley, at 5-over 147, is Tech’s highest individual after 36 holes, tied for 17th place.