5 things: Georgia Tech chasing first NCAA title
STILLWATER, Okla. – Five things you need to know from the second round of the NCAA Championship.
1.) Yellow Jackets in the red: Georgia Tech is generally a straight-hitting team. That skill has helped the Yellow Jackets succeed at Karsten Creek, where double bogeys can be found not far from the fairway.
“There is no OK spot out here to miss it,” said James White, who is in second individually after shooting 67-73. “You have to hit it where you want to hit it. That’s the only OK spot there is. This is just brutal. I’m extremely exhausted now.”
Georgia Tech leads the team competition at 3-under 573 (283-290), one shot ahead of UCLA. They’re the only teams that are under par after 36 holes.
The Yellow Jackets, despite a list of alumni that includes David Duval, Stewart Cink, Matt Kuchar and Bryce Molder, have never won the NCAA title.
Georgia Tech lost a playoff to Oklahoma State at the 2000 NCAA Championship. The Yellow Jackets had the nation’s top-ranked team that year, with a lineup that included Kuchar, Molder and Troy Matteson. Oklahoma State was carried by Charles Howell III, who won the individual title by eight strokes. That playoff loss was the closest Georgia Tech has come to a national title. Now the team is excelling on Oklahoma State’s home turf.
LSU’s John Peterson is the individual leader at 5-under 139 (74-65). His 65 is the competitive course record at Karsten Creek. Peterson was 6 over after his first nine holes of the NCAA Championship; he played his next 27 holes in 11 under.
2.) Cowboys near the cut: Host Oklahoma State will find itself just five shots inside the cut line when Thursday’s third round begins (the top eight teams after Thursday advance to match play). The Cowboys, the No. 1 team in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, shot 292-293 on their home course for the first two rounds of the NCAA Championship. Oklahoma State’s problem on Wednesday? Big numbers.
The team had to count two triple bogeys and two double bogeys. It was 10 over par on those four holes and 5 under on the other 68.
“We just let our home course push us around too much,” Oklahoma State head coach Mike McGraw said.
Peter Uihlein shot 69 Wednesday, the only sub-par round by a Cowboy this week. Uihlein, the runner-up at last year’s NCAA Championship, is tied for sixth at 2-under 142 (73-69). He was 5 under through six holes on Wednesday.
3.) Jags stall: Oklahoma State isn’t the only pre-tournament favorite that will start Thursday’s play near the cut line. Defending champion Augusta State is in seventh after shooting consecutive 294s. Henrik Norlander shot 69 Wednesday, one day after firing 80. The Jaguars had to count three 75s Wednesday. Patrick Reed shot 69-75.
Four of the five starters from Augusta State’s title team are at Karsten Creek. The only player here who wasn’t at the Honors Course last year, Olle Bengtsson, helped keep the Jaguars’ score Wednesday from going any higher. Bengtsson, who shot 86 on Day 1, was 5 over after seven holes Wednesday but played the final 11 holes in 2 under.
Ohio State and Texas A&M, the 2009 NCAA champion, are tied for eighth at 14 over par.
4.) Hard-luck Langley: Scott Langley, the defending NCAA champion, shot 86 Wednesday. That didn’t keep his Illinois teammates from posting the day’s only under-par score. The Illini shot 1-under 287 and are in third place at 2-over 578. Luke Guthrie led the team with a 69. He’s tied for third at 3-under 141. Guthrie is the only player in the country to win his conference and regional titles.
Illinois has not made match play at the NCAA Championship since the tournament switched formats in 2009.
5.) Show some ID: Karsten Creek is doing a good job identifying the country’s top teams. Seven of the nine teams at T-8 or better are ranked in the top eight of the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings.
The only team in the top eight in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings that isn’t in the top eight on the NCAA Championship leaderboard? No. 5 Florida (T-16).
Place. Team, relation to par (Golfweek/Sagarin ranking)
- Georgia Tech, -3 (2)
- UCLA, -2 (4)
- Illinois, +2 (7)
- Georgia, +3 (14)
- Alabama, +4 (3)
- Oklahoma State, +9 (1)
- Augusta State, +12 (8)
- Ohio State, +14 (28)
- Texas A&M, +14 (6)