MILTON, Ga. – Get ready for the most pressure-packed day in college golf.
The top eight teams after Thursday advance to the eight-team match-play portion of the NCAA Championship. Everyone else heads to the airport.
• Georgia Tech (12 under): Leading after two rounds at 12-under 548, the Yellow Jackets certainly have enjoyed their home-course advantage this week at Capital City Club and won’t relent on Day 3.
• Cal (11 under): The Golden Bears are the No. 1 team in the country for a reason. They threatened to blow out the field Wednesday before falling back. With history on the line this weekend, expect them to be sharp on the last day of stroke-play qualifying.
• Alabama (9 under): The Tide has the type of powerful lineup that can challenge, if not beat, Cal. Alabama is fourth after two rounds, but expect them to grab the No. 1 or 2 seed.
EYE ON THE BOARD
• Texas (10 under): The defending NCAA champions matched the low round of the day on Wednesday with a 9-under 271, but the Longhorns still have a lot of question marks up and down the lineup.
• Arkansas (3 under): The Hogs are a good team, but they’ll need a more balanced attack to advance. Freshman Nicolas Echavarria (-6) and Sebastian Cappelen (-3) can’t carry them to match play.
LOOK OUT BELOW
• North Florida (3 over): Only three shots outside the bubble, the Ospreys’ best player, Sean Dale, has yet to shoot a round better than 69, and Kevin Phelan and MJ Maguire have been stuck in neutral. You have to figure they’ll get going eventually.
• Washington (4 over): Quiet week thus far for the Huskies, especially for their star player, Chris Williams, who last week was honored with the Ben Hogan Award. Too much firepower to miss match play.
• New Mexico (6 over): Disastrous start, but the fifth-ranked Lobos battled back with a 6-under 274 on Day 2. They’ll need another low round Thursday to make it through, and they have the talent to do it.
SEE YOU NEXT YEAR
• UCLA (10 over): The third-ranked team in the country has really struggled this week. It doesn’t help that Pedro Figueiredo (-1) is the only Bruin under par after two rounds.