June 2, 2006
Sunriver, Ore. – Georgia Tech’s golf team will not be competing Saturday, but its youngest player will carry on after freshman Cameron Tringale shot a four-under-par 68 Friday and made the cut for individuals at the NCAA Men’s Division I Golf Championship.
Tringale, who has two tournament titles under his belt already this year, including the Atlantic Coast Conference championship, finds himself just four shots off the lead after 54 holes at five-under-par 211. He is in a group of five players tied for fifth place.
As one of the top six individuals on teams that did not make the NCAA’s 54-hole cut, he will have an opportunity to play for medalist honors Saturday while his teammates cheer him on.
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The ACC Freshman of the Year from Laguna Niguel, Calif., who opened the championship with scores of 73 and 70, played a near-flawless round Friday that included just one bogey and five birdies at the 7,630-yard, par-72 Crosswater Golf Club.
“He’s very good fundamentally,” Tech head coach Bruce Heppler said. “He hit every fairway today, so he’s got a chance on every hole. He believes in himself, and he’s had one of the best freshman years anyone has ever had. I’m sure he’ll be excited about tomorrow, and you never know, if he can go out there and play another good round…”
Tringale, who will tee off at 12:12 p.m. Eastern time Saturday, has a chance to beat some select company if he can hold his position after Saturday. David Duval tied for eighth place at the NCAA Championship in 1990, while Bryce Molder was sixth alone in 1998, the highest finishes by Tech freshmen.
Jonathan Moore of Oklahoma State leads the individual race with a 54-hole total of 207 (9-under-par), followed by Kyle Reifers of Wake Forest (8-under 208), Pablo Martin of Oklahoma State (7-under 209) and Andrew Parr of Texas A&M (6-under 210). Tringale is tied with defending champion James Lepp of Washington, Alejandro Canizares of Arizona State, Dustin Johnson of Coastal Carolina, and Zach Bixler of Washington.
Three Tech players have previously won the national collegiate championship, most recently done by Troy Matteson in 2002. Watts Gunn (1927) and Charlie Yates (1934) won individual titles when the national championship was conducted in match-play format.
His teammates, however, continued to struggle as the Yellow Jackets posted a team score Friday of eight-over-par 296. Tech finished 54 holes in 26th place and missed the cut to the top 15 teams that will compete Saturday for the championship. It is the fourth time in 21 appearances that the Jackets have failed to complete 72 holes, and the first time since 1999 at Hazeltine National in Chaska, Minn.
Junior Kevin Larsen turned in a one-over-par 73 Friday and totaled 220 for 54 holes, tying for 63rd place. Senior Mike Barbosa, playing his last competitive round as a collegian, shot 77, while junior Roberto Castro struggled for the third straight day (78) and freshman Taylor Hall shot 80.
Washington (7-under-par) has a three-shot lead in the team race over Oklahoma State, Wake Forest and Arizona State (4-under) heading into Saturday’s final round. Minnesota and Lamar are tied for fifth place at one-over, followed by Clemson (2-over), Florida (3-over) and Georgia (5-over). Texas A&M, Arizona, UCLA and Kentucky are tied for 10th place, and Duke is 14th. Brigham Young secured the 15th and final spot in a playoff over Coastal Carolina.