April 19, 2008
New London, N.C. – Taylor Hall shot a 2-under-par 70 to pace Georgia Tech, but the eighth-ranked Yellow Jackets failed to capitalize on a quick start to its second round and slipped to eighth place heading into the final day of the Atlantic Coast Conference Golf Championship.
Tech shot a 3-under-par 285 Saturday, two shots better than its opening round, but fell 15 shots off the lead in its quest for a third straight conference title. Duke posted a 10-under-par round of 278 to maintain a one-shot lead over Florida State (9-under 279 Saturday). The Blue Devils have a 36-hole score of 557, 19 strokes under par, while the Seminoles stand at 18-under.
NC State and Wake Forest are tied for third place at 11-under, while North Carolina and Clemson are tied for fifth at 9-under. Virginia Tech is in seventh place at 6-under.
In the first six holes Saturday at the Old North State Club, the Yellow Jackets put up 11 birdies and an eagle and stood 8-under-par for the round. By the turn, however, Tech gave up all but two of those shots to par, and unlike Friday’s round, was not able to rally on the incoming nine until the final hole.
At one point in the back nine, the Jackets actually stood 1-over par for the day until all five players birdied the par-5 18th.
“We got the start we wanted today, but we just couldn’t sustain it,” said head coach Bruce Heppler. “We’re just not playing well enough. Again, we got solid rounds from our No. 3 and 4 players, but nothing special from our top two players.”
Hall, in posting his second consecutive subpar round, was the only Tech player to avoid a double-bogey on Saturday, posting four birdies and two bogeys. It was his fifth under-par round in eight trips over the 7,100-yard, par 72 layout, and left him in a tie for 11th place at 3-under-par 141, five shots off the lead.
Wake Forest’s Webb Simpson posted his second straight 68 and has a 36-hole total of 136, one shot ahead of Florida State’s Matthew Savage (7-under 137) and two clear of Duke’s Michael Schachner and Wes Roach (6-under 138).
All-American Chesson Hadley stood at 2-under for his round until a double-bogey at No. 16, then he saved par at 17 and birdied the 18th to finish at 1-under 71. All-American Cameron Tringale and David Dragoo each carded even-par 72s.
Emblematic of Tech’s roller-coaster ride Saturday was the round of its non-counting player, J.T. Griffin, whose 76 included only four pars. The Wilson, N.C., freshman birdied six holes, bogeyed six and added a pair of double-bogeys.
The Jackets, who tee off between 9:10 and 9:50 Sunday, paired with Virginia Tech and Virginia for the second straight day.