April 9, 2007
Alpharetta, Ga. –
Tanner Ervin shot a 70 and Sam Saunders a 71 Monday to pace Clemson, while Cameron Tringale and Kevin Larsen each shot 72 to carry Georgia Tech, and the two Atlantic Coast Conference teams are tied for first place after the opening round of the United States Collegiate Championship at The Golf Club of Georgia.
The Yellow Jackets, ranked 14th in the nation, and Clemson, ranked 11th, both finished their rounds early in cold, wet conditions. But their team scores of 292 (4 over par) held up as the rest of the teams completed their rounds even as temperatures warmed and the greens dried off on the 7,017-yard Lakeside Course.
“It played really hard early on because of the weather,” said Tech coach Bruce Heppler. “But the golf course is perfect, and it’s challenging. They did a great job of getting it ready for the tournament, and it will identify the best team when it’s over. You’ve got the best teams in the country being challenged by a great golf course.
“We played well all day. We made a couple of mistakes on 11, we played the par-5 in 3-over, but overall they all played pretty well. It’s certainly nice to see Kevin with a good score.”
Top-ranked Georgia played a strong front nine and held the lead, but faded on the back side to an 8-over-par finish and a tie for third place with Wake Forest at 296. Bulldog senior Chris Kirk, however, grabbed a share of the individual lead with a 70.
Georgia State and defending national champion Oklahoma State are tied for fifth at 10-over 298, while third-ranked Alabama is tied for seventh place with No. 9 UCLA at 11-over-299.
Ervin, a junior from Mount Pleasant, S.C., who had a 74.27 stroke average in 15 previous rounds this year, had four birdies in his 2-under-par round. Kirk, a senior from Woodstock, Ga., and the last player to finish, carded five birdies and three bogeys, parring the 18th to maintain a share of the lead.
Ervin made a par 5 at the 18th despite going in the water with his second shot. He got up and down from 87 yards, making a 7-foot putt. “I played pretty well. I putted great. I kept it below the hole pretty well, which is the key out here,” he added.
“I played pretty solid,” Kirk said. “Didn’t hit too many bad shots. And when I did hit a good wedge in there, I pretty much made the putt for birdie. These greens are so firm and fast, you really have to pay attention out here. They were really quick, but I felt great with my speed all day.”
Saunders, a freshman from Windermere, Fla., is in a group of five players tied for third place individually, including Joel Sjoholm of Georgia State, Daniel Summerhays of Brigham Young, Matthew Swan of Alabama and Tim McKenney of Florida. Tringale, a sophomore from Laguna Niguel, Calif., and Larsen, a senior from Santa Barbara, Calif., are in a five-way tie for eighth place at even-par 72.
Tee times for Tuesday’s second round begin at 9 a.m. and run through 1:03 p.m. The final 18 holes will be played Wednesday off both the first and 10th tees.
UNITED STATES COLLEGIATE CHAMPIONSHIPThe Golf Club of Georgia (Lakeside Course), Alpharetta, Ga.First-Round Results
TEAM STANDINGS T1 Georgia Tech 292 +4 T1 Clemson 292 +4 T3 Georgia 296 +8 T3 Wake Forest 296 +8 T5 Georgia State 298 +10 T5 Oklahoma State 298 +10 T7 UCLA 299 +11 T7 Alabama 299 +11 9 East Tennessee St. 300 +12 10 Southern California 304 +16 T11 Florida 305 +17 T11 Texas 305 +17 13 TCU 309 +21 T14 Brigham Young 310 +22 T14 Florida State 310 310 +22
INDIVIDUAL LEADERS T1 Tanner Ervin Clemson 70 -2 T1 Chris Kirk Georgia 70 -2 T3 Sam Saunders Clemson 71 -1 T3 Joel Sjoholm Georgia State 71 -1 T3 Daniel Summerhays Brigham Young 71 -1 T3 Matthew Swan Alabama 71 -1 T7 Kevin Larsen Georgia Tech 72 E T7 Chris McCartin Wake Forest 72 E T7 Tim McKenney Florida 72 E T7 Gareth Shaw East Tennessee St. 72 E T7 Webb Simpson Wake Forest 72 E T7 Cameron Tringale Georgia Tech 72 E T13 Jonas Blixt Florida State 73 73 +1 T13 Kevin Chappell UCLA 73 +1 T13 David Dragoo * Georgia Tech 73 +1 T13 Brendan Gielow Wake Forest 73 +1 T13 Trent Leon Oklahoma State 73 +1 T13 David May Clemson 73 +1 T13 Ben Taylor Georgia State 73 +1 T13 Brendon Todd Georgia 73 +1
GEORGIA TECH SCORES T8 Cameron Tringale 72 E T8 Kevin Larsen 72 E T13 David Dragoo* 73 +1 T22 Roberto Castro 74 +2 T22 Chesson Hadley 74 +2 T28 Adam Cohan* 75 +3 T36 Taylor Hall 76 +4 T63 Daniel Bowden* 80 +8 *playing as an individual