Columbus Regional: Surprising Charlotte takes lead
Friday, May 17, 2013
Team leader: Charlotte (3-over 287)
Individual leader: Raoul Menard, Charlotte (4-under 67)
In position: 2. South Carolina (288), 3. Stanford (291), 4. UNLV (292), 5. Auburn (293)
Chasing: T-6. Missouri (294), T-6. New Mexico (294), 8. San Francisco (297)
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Charlotte A Surprise Leader
Starting on the back nine, Charlotte quickly got to 7 under after just a few holes and remained atop the leaderboard throughout the opening round at the Columbus Regional. The 49ers lead South Carolina by a single shot and are four clear of Stanford.
Charlotte, the No. 12 seed, was led by Raoul Menard, who posted a 4-under 67 to lead individually by a shot over UNLV’s Carl Jonson and South Carolina’s Will Starke. Menard managed to post six birdies on the demanding 7,286-yard, par-71 Scarlet Golf Course layout at Ohio State to finish at 4-under 67.
“We got off to a great start,” Charlotte head coach Ryan Cabbage said. “In dealing with an event like this, it’s hard to be in position on Saturday without putting yourself in position on Thursday. Teams can do it, but it’s better to do from the start. It’s Round 1, though. We finished Phase 1 today, and Phase 2 tomorrow is all that can we can focus on.”
The 49ers were a bubble team late in the spring, but they earned a postseason spot after winning the Atlantic 10 Conference title and the league’s automatic qualifying spot. Charlotte has not beaten a top-25 team this season.
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Ohio State's Scarlet Golf Course has proven to be one of the more demanding layouts in college golf. It is a course that has rattled better-seeded teams in regional play and even has provided one of the biggest postseason upsets when Minnesota, ranked No. 21, won the 2002 NCAA Championship.
The Scarlet Course and LSU's University Club at Baton Rouge are arguably the toughest courses of the six regional sites being played. The Scarlet Course is the only site where no teams broke par on the first day – and the conditions were as good as it gets.
“It played about as easy as it could out there. Today’s conditions were ideal,” Georgia Southern head coach Larry Mays said. “There was not much wind today, which was opposite of what we saw in the practice round where the wind was brutal.”
Georgia Southern is in ninth place at 14 over and stands five shots behind fifth-place Auburn. The top five teams and low individual not on a qualifying team will advance to the NCAA Championship.
Due to the ideal conditions, there was very little separation on the leaderboard at round’s end. Just 22 shots separate first and 13th place. If the wind blows, look for teams to move up and down during the next 36 holes.
“If the wind blows, then the course becomes more difficult,” Cabbage said. “I think this is a great test of every aspect of your game. It takes quality golf shots to make it around this course.”
Mays agrees we will probably see a tight leaderboard during the final two rounds.
“You are probably not going to have any one team run away with it, considering how hard this golf course can play,” Mays said.
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New Mexico, the No. 1 seed, made just one birdie on the back nine and finished at 10 over par, tied for sixth place with Missouri. . . . U.S. Amateur champion Steven Fox leads Chattanooga with a 2-over 73, but the Mocs are in 12th place overall.