Georgia Extends Lead at NCAAs

By Associated PressJune 2, 2005, 4:00 pm
College CentralEditor's Note: Exclusive coverage of the Men's NCAA Division I Golf Championships will be televised on The Golf Channel beginning June 2 at 3:00 p.m. ET.
 
NCAAOWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Georgias Richard Scott shot a 1-under 69 and teammate Brendon Todd added a 70 in windy conditions Thursday to help the Bulldogs increase their lead to nine strokes after the second round of the NCAA Division I tournament.
 
Youve got to put aside thinking about leading or winning and just take it one shot at a time, Scott said. On this course and with these teams playing, if you lose focus, it can bite you. Were just worrying about each shot.
 
Georgia had a 4-over 284 total Thursday'counting the top four scores from the five-player squad'to finish 36 holes at 2-under 558 on the Caves Valley course. Chris Kirk added a 71 for the Bulldogs, and Kevin Kisner and David Denham shot 74s.
 
If you had told me after two rounds wed be under par, I would have taken that without a doubt, Georgia coach Chris Haack said. Im proud of the way the guys are playing. Theyre all focused on the task at hand. Theyre doing a good job of staying in the present and not getting emotional.
 
Tennessee, 8 over in the second round, was second at 7 over, followed by Georgia Tech at 9 over, Southern California at 12 over and UNLV, Duke, Georgia State and Washington at 14 over. Top-ranked Oklahoma State was 15th at 21 over.
 
Pepperdines Michael Putnam topped the individual leaderboard, shooting his second straight 67 for a 6-under 134 total. Augusta States Major Manning (70) was a stroke back, and Washingtons James Lepp (67) and Georgia Techs Roberto Castro (68) were three strokes behind Putnam at 3-under 137.
 
Putnam had an eagle, two birdies and a bogey'on his final hole.
 
I played solid all day, Putnam said. I only hit one bad shot and that was on the last hole. My mind-set for the day was not to make a bogey. I think when you have that mind-set, it helps make the day a little more relaxing.
 
Defending champion Ryan Moore of UNLV, also the 2004 U.S. Amateur and U.S. Public Links winner, followed his opening 72 with a 73 for a 5-over 145 total. New Mexicos Spencer Levin, who tied for 13th last year in the U.S. Open, also struggled, shooting a 75 for a 7-over 147 total.
 
Team Scores
Georgia 274-284--558
Tennessee 279-288--567
Georgia Tech 288-281--569
Southern Cal 290-282--572
UNLV 284-290--574
Duke 288-286--574
Georgia State 287-287--574
Washington 289-285--574
Augusta State 286-289--575
Brigham Young 285-290--575
Arizona State 291-285--576
Arizona 282-296--578
Florida 289-291--580
Wake Forest 287-293--580
Oklahoma State 292-289--581
Kentucky 291-292--583
SMU 287-297--584
Alabama 291-293--584
Georgia Southern 286-298--584
Arkansas 288-296--584
Coastal Carolina 284-301--585
Missouri 300-286--586
San Diego State 290-297--587
Stanford 296-292--588
New Mexico 289-300--589
Tulsa 290-302--592
Texas A&M 296-296--592
Texas 298-297--595
Purdue 299-299--598
UCLA 299-301--600
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Individual Leaders
Michael Putnam, Pepperdine 67-67--134
Major Manning, Augusta State 65-70--135
Roberto Castro, Georgia Tech 69-68--137
James Lepp, Washington 70-67--137
Oscar Alvarez, BYU 67-71--138
Shawn Jasper, Missouri 72-66--138
Ross McGowan, Tennessee 67-71--138
Michael Schachner, Duke 70-68--138
Brendon Todd, Georgia 68-70--138
Kevin Kisner, Georgia 65-74--139
Zack Miller, Stanford 70-69--139
Alex Noren, Oklahoma State 70-69--139
Aron Price, Georgia Southern 66-73--139
Joshua Wooding, Southern Cal 71-68--139
Chris Kirk, Georgia 69-71--140
Niklas Lemke, Arizona State 70-70--140
Taylor Wood, Southern Cal 72-68--140
Robert Gates, Texas A&M 68-73--141
Beau Glover, Arkansas 70-71--141
Richard Scott, Georgia 72-69--141
Mitch Cohlmia, Tulsa 67-75--142
Rob Grube, Stanford 71-71--142
Mark Harrell, Alabama 70-72--142
Ty Harris, Georgia State 72-70--142
John Holmes, Kentucky 70-72--142
Nathan Lashley, Arizona 71-71--142
Doug Manchester, Wake Forest 71-71--142
Philip Pettitt, Tennessee 69-73--142
Joel Sjoholm, Georgia State 73-69--142
Martin Ureta, North Carolina 68-74--142

 
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  • Photo by Enrique Berardi/LAAC

    Top-ranked amateur Niemann one back at LAAC in Chile

    By Nick MentaJanuary 21, 2018, 8:44 pm

    Argentina’s Jaime Lopez Rivarola leads the Latin America Amateur Championship at 5 under par following a round of 3-under 68 Saturday in Chile.

    The former Georgia Bulldog is now 36 holes from what would be a return trip to Augusta National but his first Masters.

    "The truth is that I crossed off on my bucket list playing Augusta [National], because I happened to play there," Rivarola said. "I've played every year with my university. But playing in the Masters is a completely different thing. I have been to the Masters, and I've watched the players play during the practice rounds. But [competing would be] a completely different thing."

    He is followed on the leaderboard by the three players who competed in the playoff that decided last year’s LAAC in Panama: Joaquin Niemann (-4), Toto Gana (-4), and Alvaro Ortiz (-3).


    Click here for full-field scores from the Latin America Amateur Championship


    Chile’s Niemann is the top-ranked amateur in the world who currently holds conditional status on the Web.com Tour and is poised to begin his career as a professional, unless of course he takes the title this week. After a disappointing 74 in Round 1, Niemann was 10 shots better in Round 2, rocketing up the leaderboard with a 7-under 64.

    “Today, I had a completely different mentality, and that's usually what happens in my case," Niemann said. "When I shoot a bad round, the following day I have extra motivation. I realize and I feel that I have to play my best golf. The key to being a good golfer is to find those thoughts and to transfer them into good golf."

    Niemann’s fellow Chilean and best friend Gana is the defending champion who missed the cut at the Masters last year and is now a freshman at Lynn University. His second-round 70 was a roller coaster, complete with six birdies, three eagles and a double.

    Mexico’s Ortiz, the brother of three-time Web.com Tour winner Carlos, was 6 under for the week before three back-nine bogeys dropped him off the pace.

    Two past champions, Matias Dominguez and Paul Chaplet, sit 5 over and 7 over, respectively.

    The winner of the Latin America Amateur Championship earns an invite to this year’s Masters. He is also exempt into the The Amateur Championship, the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Open sectional qualifying, and Open Championship final qualifying.

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    McIlroy gets back on track

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 21, 2018, 3:10 pm

    There’s only one way to view Rory McIlroy’s performance at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship:

    He is well ahead of schedule.

    Sure, McIlroy is probably disappointed that he couldn’t chase down Ross Fisher (and then Tommy Fleetwood) on the final day at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. But against a recent backdrop of injuries and apathy, his tie for third was a resounding success. He reasserted himself, quickly, and emerged 100 percent healthy.

    “Overall, I’m happy,” he said after finishing at 18-under 270, four back of Fleetwood. “I saw some really, really positive signs. My attitude, patience and comfort level were really good all week.”

    To fully appreciate McIlroy’s auspicious 2018 debut, consider his state of disarray just four months ago. He was newly married. Nursing a rib injury. Breaking in new equipment. Testing another caddie. His only constant was change. “Mentally, I wasn’t in a great place,” he said, “and that was because of where I was physically.”

    And so he hit the reset button, taking the longest sabbatical of his career, a three-and-a-half-month break that was as much psychological as physical. He healed his body and met with a dietician, packing five pounds of muscle onto his already cut frame. He dialed in his TaylorMade equipment, shoring up a putting stroke and wedge game that was shockingly poor for a player of his caliber. Perhaps most importantly, he cleared his cluttered mind, cruising around Italy with wife Erica in a 1950s Mercedes convertible.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    After an intense buildup to his season debut, McIlroy was curious about the true state of his game, about how he’d stack up when he finally put a scorecard in his hand. It didn’t take him long to find out. 

    Playing the first two rounds alongside Dustin Johnson – the undisputed world No. 1 who was fresh off a blowout victory at Kapalua – McIlroy beat him by a shot. Despite a 103-day competitive layoff, he played bogey-free for 52 holes. And he put himself in position to win, trailing by one heading into the final round. Though Fleetwood blew away the field with a back-nine 30 to defend his title, McIlroy collected his eighth top-5 in his last nine appearances in Abu Dhabi.

    “I know it’s only three months,” he said, “but things change, and I felt like maybe I needed a couple of weeks to get back into the thought process that you need to get into for competitive golf. I got into that pretty quickly this week, so that was the most pleasing thing.”

    The sense of relief afterward was palpable. McIlroy is entering his 11th full year as a pro, and deep down he likely realizes 2018 is shaping up as his most important yet.

    The former Boy Wonder is all grown up, and his main challengers now are a freakish athlete (DJ) and a trio of players under 25 (Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm) who don’t lack for motivation or confidence. The landscape has changed significantly since McIlroy’s last major victory, in August 2014, and the only way he’ll be able to return to world No. 1 is to produce a sustained period of exceptional golf, like the rest of the game’s elite. (Based on average points, McIlroy, now ranked 11th, is closer to the bottom of the rankings, No. 1928, than to Johnson.)

    But after years of near-constant turmoil, McIlroy, 28, finally seems ready to pursue that goal again. He is planning the heaviest workload of his career – as many as 30 events, including seven more starts before the Masters – and appears refreshed and reenergized, perhaps because this year, for the first time in a while, he is playing without distractions.

    Not his relationships or his health. Not his equipment or his caddie or his off-course dealings.

    Everything in his life is lined up.

    Drama tends to follow one of the sport’s most captivating characters, but for now he can just play golf – lots and lots of golf. How liberating.

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    Crocker among quartet of Open qualifiers in Singapore

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 2:20 pm

    Former amateur standout Sean Crocker was among four players who qualified for the 147th Open via top-12 finishes this week at the Asian Tour's SMBC Singapore Open as part of the Open Qualifying Series.

    Crocker had a strong college career at USC before turning pro late last year. The 21-year-old received an invitation into this event shortly thereafter, and he made the most of his appearance with a T-6 finish to net his first career major championship berth.

    There were four spots available to those not otherwise exempt among the top 12 in Singapore, but winner Sergio Garcia and runners-up Shaun Norris and Satoshi Kodaira had already booked their tickets for Carnoustie. That meant that Thailand's Danthai Boonma and Jazz Janewattanond both qualified thanks to T-4 finishes.


    Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


    Crocker nabbed the third available qualifying spot, while the final berth went to Australia's Lucas Herbert. Herbert entered the week ranked No. 274 in the world and was the highest-ranked of the three otherwise unqualified players who ended the week in a tie for eighth.

    The next event in the Open Qualifying Series will be in Japan at the Mizuno Open in May, when four more spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs. The 147th Open will be held July 19-22 in Carnoustie, Scotland.

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    Got a second? Fisher a bridesmaid again

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:40 pm

    Ross Fisher is in the midst of a career resurgence - he just doesn't have the hardware to prove it.

    Fisher entered the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a share of the lead, and as he made the turn he appeared in position to claim his first European Tour victory since March 2014. But he slowed just as Tommy Fleetwood caught fire, and when the final putt fell Fisher ended up alone in second place, two shots behind his fellow Englishman.

    It continues a promising trend for Fisher, who at age 37 now has 14 career runner-up finishes and three in his last six starts dating back to October. He was edged by Tyrrell Hatton both at the Italian Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the fall, and now has amassed nine worldwide top-10 finishes since March.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Fisher took a big step toward ending his winless drought with an eagle on the par-5 second followed by a pair of birdies, and he stood five shots clear of Fleetwood with only nine holes to go. But while Fleetwood played Nos. 10-15 in 4 under, Fisher played the same stretch in 2 over and was unable to eagle the closing hole to force a playoff.

    While Fisher remains in search of an elusive trophy, his world ranking has benefited from his recent play. The veteran was ranked outside the top 100 in the world as recently as September 2016, but his Abu Dhabi runner-up result is expected to move him inside the top 30 when the new rankings are published.