Two par-5 eagles by junior Zach Munroe (Charlotte, N.C.) on the 11th and 13th got the College of Charleston men’s golf team off to a great start as it shot an opening-round 3-under par 285 on Thursday at the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Southwest Regional Championship at Briggs Ranch Golf Club.
The Cougars are in second place and four strokes back of No. 6-ranked and top seed Georgia (-7). Munroe is tied for sixth individually with a 2-under 70 followed by freshman William Rainey (Charlotte, N.C.), who turned in his third consecutive under-par round with a 71 and is tied for 11th.
“I thought we were all feeling good yesterday during the practice round,” said Munroe, who has never made two eagles in a round in his golf career. “The wind was switching at times today, but we were able to get off to a good start despite the conditions. Personally, I was up-and-down and at one point, we were at 8-under (as a team). If we can hit the fairway and greens, we will be right there.”
Munroe, who qualified for the U.S. Amateur in 2012 at Cherry Hills Country Club, is competing in his first NCAA Regional, like most of his teammates, and has had some great rounds of golf leading up to the postseason. He tied for eighth at the CAA Championship and third at The Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate. Munroe also turned in a career-low round of 67 at the Mason Rudolph Championship hosted by Vanderbilt.
“I was a little nervous at first, but my start calmed the nerves a little bit, especially after the two eagles in three holes,” he said.
2014 CAA Golfer of the Year John Jonas (Jacksonville, Fla.) and sophomore Josh Lorenzetti (Columbia, S.C.) fired even-par rounds and are tied for 15th, while senior Alex Ellis (Austin, Texas) is tied for 34th at +2.
“We played a solid round like we have all spring,” said CofC Head Coach Mark McEntire whose team’s opening-round 285 tied as the sixth-lowest round of the season. “We have more consistency in our lineup and everyone did their job today. I’m not surprised at our start, because we have been playing well all year.”
Eight Top-50 ranked teams make up the field at the NCAA San Antonio Regional. No. 7 UCF is tied for third with No. 31 SMU at even-par followed by No. 18 UCLA and TCU tied for fifth (+2).
Of the six regional sites around the country, CofC was one of only eight teams to shoot under par on the first day of tournament play along with Georgia, Georgia Tech and Washington out of the NCAA Raleigh Regional, Stanford out of the NCAA Eugene Regional, Oklahoma State, Missouri and Virginia out of the NCAA Columbia Regional and defending national champion Alabama out of the NCAA Auburn Regional. Charleston was the only unranked team of this elite group with six of the eight ranked inside the Top 10.
“Everyone is doing a lot of good things out there,” McEntire said. “We are in a good position and have a chance to be in it on the last day.”
The Cougars will be paired with UGA and UCF in the last group teeing off the first tee tomorrow at 9:10 a.m. (CT) / 10:10 a.m. (ET). Live tournament scoring will be available at: www.Golfstat.com.
USC The fourth-seeded South Carolina men’s golf team shot a 286 (+6) on Thursday in the opening round of the NCAA Eugene Regional at Eugene Country Club.
The Gamecocks finished the day in a tie for third place with North Florida and are 10 shots back of tournament leader Stanford. The Cardinal turned in a 4-under 276 to take the lead with 36 holes left to play. The top five teams and low individual not on those teams will advance to next week’s NCAA Championship.
“I have a little bit of a mixed bag of emotions after what I saw out there,” South Carolina head coach Bill McDonald said. “I saw a lot of really good golf and I saw some poor shots and bad decision making in certain parts of the round. We are in the final group tomorrow and are in a good position to play well the rest of the tournament. I was proud of the guys. It’s a tough golf course. It has high rough and firm, bouncing greens. I thought overall the round was fine.”
Sophomore Will Starke posted the low round of the day for the Gamecocks as he fired a 2-under 68. He will head into the second round in contention for medalist honors in a tie for fourth, trailing Stanford’s Patrick Rodgers by two strokes. Rodgers fired a 4-under 66 on Thursday.
After recording par on his first six holes of the day, Starke reeled off three-straight birdies on holes 16 through 18, including a 25-foot putt from off the fringe on No. 18, to make the turn at 3-under. He gave a stroke back with a bogey on No. 3 but moved back to 3-under with a birdie on the par-5 sixth. He later made his second bogey of the day on No. 8 and recorded par on the ninth to get into the clubhouse at 2-under.
Sophomore Matt NeSmith and freshman Ben Dietrich each carded a 2-over 72 to finish the round just outside the top 20 in a tie for 21st. NeSmith closed out the afternoon with three birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey on his scorecard, while Dietrich recorded five bogeys and three birdies.
Juniors Caleb Sturgeon and Will Murphy both turned in a 74 (+4) and are tied for 41st. Sturgeon made five bogeys on the day but closed out his round on a positive note with a birdie on the par-4 ninth. Murphy tallied four bogeys and a double bogey but had two of the highlights of the day for the Gamecocks. After hitting his tee shot into the water on the par-3 fifth, he holed out for par from the drop zone. He then made eagle on the par-5 sixth.
Oklahoma is second in the team standings with a total of 280 (E), while host Oregon rounds out the top five in fifth place with a total of 289 (+9).
The Gamecocks will tee off in the second round on Friday beginning at 9:15 a.m. PDT and will be paired with Stanford and Oklahoma. Live scoring will be available at golfstatresults.com.
SOUTH CAROLINA RESULTS T4. Will Starke (3) 68 (-2) T21. Matt NeSmith (1) 72 (+2) T21. Ben Dietrich (5) 72 (+2) T41. Will Murphy (2) 74 (+4) T41. Caleb Sturgeon (4) 74 (+4)
Freshman Carson Young fired an even par 72, one of just five rounds of par or better by the entire field, to lead Clemson to third-place standing after the first round of the NCAA Sugar Grove Regional at Rich Harvest Farms Golf Club in Sugar Grove, Ill.
The sixth seeded Tigers shot 299 as a team, third best in the 14-team field and just seven shots behind top team UAB. Illinois is in second place at 293. After the Tigers stand Kent State at 301, Southern Cal at 302, Jacksonville State at 303 and California at 305. California is the top seed in the field, while Southern California is seeded third.
The first day of the three-day event was played in 43-degree temperatures and intermittent rain for the first two hours. The rain stopped after most of the teams had played nine holes, but the temperature never got into the 50s.
“It was among the coldest days of golf I can remember,” said Head Coach Larry Penley, who has taken Clemson to the NCAA Tournament all of his 31 years as head coach. “I was proud of the way our team held together. We got off to a rough start, but we made four birdies on the 16th hole (seventh hole of the day) and that got us in a good frame of mine.
“Before tomorrow we are going to go to a sporting goods store and get some hand-warmers and some turtle neck shirts.”
Clemson got off to a poor start and stood in 11th place at nine over par through four holes. But, the Tigers played the rest of the day in just two over par and jumped eight spots to third place.
Young, who has been Clemson’s number four or five player most of the year, has come on of late, and shot his even par 72 thanks to three birdies and three bogeys. He stands in a tie for fourth place individually after 18 holes. Brian Campbell of Illinois has the lead with a three under par 69. For Young, it was his third straight round of par or better, the first time he has done that this year.
He played the front side, his second nine of the day in one-under-par. “I made a 10 foot putt for birdie on the 16th hole and that gave me some confidence,” said the freshman from Pendleton who grew up a Clemson golf fan. “I have played in weather like this before, but these were difficult conditions. “
Austin Langdale, Cody Proveaux and Stephen Behr all followed with birdies on the 16th hole thanks to approach shots on the 191 yard hole to inside 10 feet each. Behr hit his to four feet.
Proveaux was Clemson’s second best player with a round of 74 and stands in 11th place. He had four birdies and six bogeys during his round, but he saved his best shot for the last hole. His approach from 175 yards with a six-iron on the par four ninth hole came to rest 10 feet from the cup. It was the best shot all day by a Clemson player.
Langdale had a rough stretch on the opening nine, making six bogeys in a seven hole stretch at one point, but he gathered himself thanks to a birdies on the par five second hole and the par five seventh to shoot one-under-par on the back and four over 76 for the day.
Stephen Behr, Clemson’s top player with a 72.26 stroke average for the year, had a five over par 77, but finished strong with a birdie on the seventh hole after consecutive hybrid shots and a wedge to the green that finished five feet from the pin. Behr had a double on his first hole (10th) and a triple bogey on the par three third hole that kept him from an even par score.
Sophomore Miller Capps had a 79 thanks to a pair of double bogeys on his first nine and his score did not count towards Clemson’s team score.
NCAA Sugar Grove Regional Team Scores
UAB 292, 2. Illinois 293, 3. Clemson 299, 4. Kent State 301, 5. Southern Cal 302, 6. Jacksonville State 303, 7. California 305, 8. UNLV 308, 9. Purdue 309, 10. Mississippi State and Cleveland State 315, 12. New Mexico State 317, 13. Cal Fullerton 319, 14. St. Peter’s 338
4. Carson Young 72, 11. Cody Proveaux 74, 23. Austin Langdale 76, 28. Stephen Behr 77, 38. Miller Capps 79.
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