May 20, 2010
ALPHARETTA, Ga. – Thursday was a good day to be wearing orange as Oklahoma State leads Clemson by one stroke after the opening round of the NCAA Southeast Golf Regional at the Capital City Golf Club’s Crabapple Course.
The Cowboys, the No. 1 seed in the regional, shot a 2-over par 282 on the par 70, 7,182-yard layout about 20 miles outside of Atlanta. Clemson (283, +3) is one shot back, followed by regional host and ACC champion Georgia Tech (287, +7), Georgia Southern (288, +8) and Brigham Young (289, +9). Arizona State, the regional’s No. 2 seed, is in sixth place (290, +10).
“I was happy with the day, but ultimately in this tournament you want to feel good about what you’re doing and don’t put any extra pressure on the guys,” Oklahoma State coach Mike McGraw said. “We’re just playing golf and hopefully we get the result that we want. Overall, they played well.”
The Southeast Regional is one of six NCAA regionals that began today. The top five teams from each regional, plus the top individual not on one of those teams, advance to the NCAA Championships June 1-6 at The Honors Course in Chattanooga, Tenn.
The 54-hole Southeast Regional continues with 18 holes Friday and the final 18 holes on Saturday. Friday’s competition will begin 30 minutes earlier than scheduled, at 7:30 a.m.
There is a logjam atop the individual leader board with nine players all within one shot of the lead and 12 players within two shots.
Four players, including Georgia Tech’s John-Tyler Griffin, are tied for first after shooting scores of 2-under par 68.
“I just kept trying to make it firm and miss it in the right spots,” Griffin said. “I didn’t want to try to short side myself at all. I made some putts and I birded the holes I needed to. There are about six holes on this course where you can make birdie and I did that on four of them. It was one of those deals where I kind of did all the right things.”
Griffin is tied with Jonathan Randolph (Mississippi), Peter Uihlein (Oklahoma State) and Robbie Fillmore (BYU).
“The course played difficult,” Uihlein said. “I was thinking going in that it was going to be more of a birdie-fest because I played here in the Cannon Cup in 2005 and we made a lot of birdies that week, but it held it own. It’s tough. They set the course up pretty well.”
The five players one shot back at 1-under par 69 include Garland Ferrell (Furman), Scott Pinckney (Arizona State), Logan Blondell (Georgia Southern), Dan Obremski (Coastal Carolina) and Mitchell Gregson (Kansas State).
Griffin paced Georgia Tech, which is appearing in an NCAA regional for the 13th consecutive year. Griffin made five birdies Thursday and could have shot even lower if not for a double-bogey on the 12th hole.
“J.T. (Griffin) played a very good round,” Yellow Jacket head coach Bruce Heppler said. “It’s hard out there. I think this is going to be one of those tournaments that the scores won’t go any lower as the day goes on, especially with how the course is set up.
“The course is hard, it’s difficult, but sometimes I think the hardest round you play is the first one because you’ve been waiting around to get started. Once you get started and settled in a little bit, you can finish up the way you want to.”
For complete individual and team scores, go to www.golfstat.com.
Oklahoma State 282 (+2)
Clemson 283 (+3)
Georgia Tech 287 (+7)
Georgia Southern 288 (+8)
Brigham Young 289 (+9)
Arizona State 290 (+10)
Furman 292 (+12)
South Alabama 292 (+12)
Wake Forest 292 (+12)
Coastal Carolina 293 (+13)
Arkansas 296 (+16)
Mississippi 301 (+21)
Towson 308 (+28)
John-Tyler Griffin, Georgia Tech 68 (-2)
Jonathan Randolph, Mississippi 68 (-2)
Peter Uihlein, Oklahoma State 68 (-2)
Robbie Fillmore, BYU 68 (-2)
*Mitchell Gregson, Kansas State 69 (-1)
Logan Blondell, Georgia Southern 69 (-1)
Dan Obremski, Coastal Carolina 69 (-1)
Garland Ferrell, Furman 69 (-1)
Scott Pinckney, Arizona State 69 (-1)
Lee Bedford, Wake Forest 70 (E)
Luke Hopkins, Clemson 70 (E)
Corbin Mills, Clemson 70 (E)
(*Playing as an individual)
More Quotes From Thursday’s Round:
John-Tyler Griffin, Georgia Tech: “Well, they hid the pins today. We haven’t seen the greens this firm or fast since we’ve been playing here. As the day went on, the wind was changing and the greens were a lot different. They were a little slow in the morning and then got quicker as the day went on. From tee to green, it wasn’t that much different, but you had to be careful of where you hit the ball on the greens, just because you could’ve short sided yourself and made a bunch of bogies.”
Peter Uihlein, Oklahoma State: “I just want to keep doing what I’ve been doing. I think I’ve been pretty smart out there and not going at pins in places where I shouldn’t. If I keep working on that, I feel like I’ll be in pretty good shape. We have two more days ahead of us, so as long as we keep it one shot at a time, we should be fine.”
Ole Miss’ Jonathan Randolph: “It’s a course that if you’re not careful, it can sneak up and bite you, especially around the greens. Even when you’re in the fairway, you have to think about where about where you want to be putting from. It’s definitely a strategic golf course that you can’t get rushed in.
“I had a lot of good looks and I putted pretty well for the most part. At the start of the round, I was having a hard time adjusting to the speed of my putts and as the round went on, they got better. I’m definitely improving in my short game. I just really have to keep going at it like I did today and see how it comes out in the end.”
Georgia Tech Head Coach Bruce Heppler: “It didn’t play much different than it did yesterday (in practice rounds), but it’s playing differently that it has in the past when we’ve played here. It’s started to firm up, so yesterday was much different than what we’ve seen. The hole locations were harder and I think the firmness and the speed of the greens started showing up at the end of the round yesterday. So, we knew what we were getting ourselves into.
“It’s going to dry out this afternoon, so a lot of it is going to depend on what the rain does. If we don’t get any rain, than I think it’ll get firmer and faster. The edge can come off if we get a downpour – it all depends on how much rain we get. If we don’t get any rain, than it should be a pretty strong test come Saturday afternoon.”
Oklahoma State Head Coach Mike McGraw: “The conditions out there were just fine, but the golf course held its own today. The hole locations were pretty tough and you had to use your head a little bit. You had to realize that there were some cases where you just couldn’t go at a flag. You were going to pay a penalty for going for a flag that you shouldn’t be going for. Overall, the golf course is fine. It was very good.”