May 31, 2011
Stillwater, Okla. – James White fired a 5-under-par 67 Tuesday to take the individual lead and lift Georgia Tech to a 3-stroke lead over UCLA following the first round of the NCAA Golf Championship.
The 4th-seeded Yellow Jackets posted their best-ever round at the 7,416-yard Karsten Creek Golf Course, a 5-under-par 283, counting a 1-under-par 71 from Paul Haley, an even-par 72 from Kyle Scott and a 1-over 73 from John-Tyler Griffin. Haley is tied for 10th place individually, Scott tied for 21st.
UCLA shot a 2-under 286 and is in second place, the only other team to shoot under par Tuesday. Alabama is in third at even-par 288, followed by 2009 national champion Texas A&M (1-over 289). Illinois and Ohio State are tied for fifth at 3-over 291, with host and top-seed Oklahoma State tied with Georgia at 4-over 292 in seventh place.
Two other Georgia schools round out the top 10 – defending champion Augusta State at 6-over 294 and Kennesaw State at 7-over 295.
“Our guys really drove the ball well today,” said head coach Bruce Heppler. “They started solidly and played the last hole well. They did a good job of managing themselves and their emotions. We look forward to getting started again in the morning.”
White kick-started his round Tuesday by getting four birdies in a five-hole stretch to finish the front nine, then recorded three more birdies on the back side, completing his best round since opening with a 62 at his home course at the United States Collegiate Championship in the fall. His best round at Karsten Creek in the fall Preview Classic was a 74.
“I hope I didn’t use up all my birdies today,” said White. “It was all I could ask for. My game plan was to give my best on every shot, no matter what, and keep the ball below the hole on the greens as much as possible. Everything went well, but things can turn South in a hurry on this golf course. I have to get rested and get ready for the first shot tomorrow.”
Haley’s 71 and Scott’s 72 also were career bests on the course. Haley opened with two birdies and finished with one. Freshmen Richard Werenski eagled the first hole Tuesday, but wound up with a 76 and did not count.
Cameron Peck of Texas A&M is one shot back of White after firing a 68, while Augusta State’s Patrick Reed and J.J. Spaun of San Diego State are tied for third with 69s.
Ohio State was the leader in the clubhouse after the morning wave, posting a 3-over 291. The afternoon wave scored better, with four of the higher-seeded teams surpassing the Buckeyes.
Tech will begin its second round at 8:20 a.m. Eastern time Wednesday.