Husky Golfers Rocket Up Leaderboard at NCAAs

June 2, 2005

Owings Mills, MD - Led by junior James Lepp's 3-under 67 and sophomore Erik Olson's 1-under 69, the Washington men's golf team made a big move up the leaderboard during the second round of the NCAA Championships. The Huskies shot 5-over 285 in windy conditions at the par-70, 7,131-yard Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md. to move into a tie for fifth place midway through the 72-hole event.

Washington's score was the fourth best of the day among the 30 teams in the field. The Huskies opened the tournament with a 9-over 289.

Husky coach Matt Thurmond said being paired with tournament-leading Georgia helped to motivate his team after Washington was tied for 15th following Tuesday's opening round.

'I think playing with Georgia really helped us,' Thurmond said. 'When we played our practices rounds earlier in the week we felt this was a really hard golf course. And it is. When you see a team make it look easy, like Georgia did yesterday, I think it made our guys realize that it is possible to shoot a good score out here. James and Erik went out and did that today. They had awesome rounds.'

Lepp got hot on the front nine, posting birdies on the fifth, sixth and seventh holes. He lost one stroke with a bogie on No. 15, but got it back on No. 18. Lepp dropped a towering nine iron shot to within a foot of the 18th pin for a tap-in birdie.

'It felt great to end the day with a birdie on the last hole,' said Lepp who enters Friday's third round in third place at 3-under 137. 'Both 17 and 18 can play really hard, but we had a little help with the wind at our backs today and so they were not as difficult.'

Lepp dropped a wedge shot in close on five for a short birdie putt to get his streak started. Hitting out of the rough and into the wind on No. 6, he muscled a long iron 225 yards just short of the green which he then chipped in. On the par-5 seventh hole, he chipped out of the rough to within 10 feet for an up-and-down birdie.

'Through that stretch of holes, I felt really solid,' said Lepp, who joked you can tell he is playing well by his course demeanor. 'I did have a little giddy-up in my step today.'

Thurmond said he was not surprised to see Lepp off to a fast start at the NCAAs.

'I told Jon (Reehoorn, UW assistant coach) earlier this week that I thought this would be the week James will have a breakout week,' Thurmond said. 'It's cool to watch him play when he gets hot. It gets aggressive and starts firing at the pin. He's dangerous when he is playing well.'

Lepp has a chance to become just the third Husky to post a top-10 finsih at the NCAAs. Troy Kelley was the runner-up in 1999 and Brock Mackenzie placed fifth in 2003.

Georgia added two strokes to its first-round lead by shooting 4-over 284. The Bulldogs lead the field at 2-under 558 while Tennessee remains second at 567. Georgia Tech used a 1-over 281 on Thursday to climb into third place at 569. USC is fourth at 572 while Duke, UNLV and Georgia State are tied with the Huskies for fifth place at 574.

Pepperdine's Michael Putnam posted his second straight round of 67 to take a one-stroke lead into the third round. Putnam's 134 leads Augusta State's Major Manning while Georgia Tech's Roberto Castro is tied with Lepp for third place at 137.

Olson, a sophomore, used his 69 to move up to 31st. His score marked the eighth time in his last 10 rounds that Olson has shot par or better.

Olson got off to a quick start with birdies on his first and third holes. He was back to even after a bogie on No. 11, but managed one more birdie on the 14th hole and finished out with a string of pars. During the first round, he had three straight bogies near the end of his round.

'It felt a lot better to hang on today coming in,' said Olson, the Pac-10 Champion. 'It gives me some confidence heading into the last two rounds.'

Washington's other counting scores included a 74 by freshman Zach Bixler and a 75 by sophomore Alex Prugh. Freshman Joe Panzeri posted a 76. Panzeri fell back to 70th at 147 while Bixler is 84th at 148. Prugh is 118th at 151.

Washington managed 13 birdies during its second round after carding just eight during the first 18 holes.

'Maybe we had a little more confidence and a little more of an aggressive mindset because we had a good idea how the course was playing,' Thurmond said. 'Everybody is just battling.'

'It is always nice to improve on a round,' Olson added. 'If we just keep doing what we are doing, then we should be there on Saturday.'

The Huskies will be paired with Georgia State and Augusta State during Friday's critical third round. They will play at 7:45 a.m. EST. After the third round is completed, only the top 15 teams will advance to Saturday's final 18 holes of play.

The Golf Channel is televising the final three rounds of the tournament. Their coverage airs from 12-2 p.m. PT and is replayed at 10 p.m. Live scoring of the event can be found at golfstat.com.

2005 NCAA Divison I Men's Golf Championships
Caves Valley Golf Club
Owings Mills, Md.
Par-70, 7,129 yards
Second Round Results

Team Results 1. Georgia            274-284-558 2. Tennessee          279-288-567 3. Georgia Tech       288-281-569 4. USC                290-282-572 5. UNLV               284-290-574 5. Duke               288-286-574 5. Georgia State      287-287-574 5. Washington         289-285-574 9. Augusta State      286-289-575 9. BYU                285-290-57511. Arizona State      291-285-57612. Arizona            282-296-57813. Florida            289-291-58013. Wake Forest        287-293-58015. Oklahoma State     292-289-58116. Kentucky           291-292-58317. SMU                287-297-58417. Alabama            291-293-58417. Georgia Southern   286-298-58417. Arkansas           288-296-58421. Coastal Carolina   284-301-58522. Missouri           300-286-58623. San Diego State    290-297-58724. Stanford           296-292-58825. New Mexico         289-300-58926. Tulsa              290-302-59226. Texas A&M          296-296-59228. Texas              298-297-59529. Purdue             299-299-59830. UCLA               299-301-600

Individual Leaders 1. Michael Putnam, Pepperdine 67-67-134 2. Major Manning, Augusta State 65-70-135 3. Roberto Castro, Georgia Tech 69-68-137 3. James Lepp, Washington 70-67-137 5. Oscar Alvarez, BYU 67-71-138 5. Shawn Jasper, Missouri 72-66-138 5. Ross McGowan, Tennessee 67-71-138 5. Michael Schachner, Duke 70-68-138 5. Brendon Todd, Georgia 68-70-13810. Kevin Kisner, Georgia 65-74-13910. Zach Miller, Stanford 70-69-13910. Alex Noren, Oklahoma State 70-69-13910. Aron Price, Georgia Southern 66-73-13910. Joshua Wooding, USC 71-67-138

Washington Scores 3. James Lepp 70-67-137 31. Erik Olson 74-69-143 70. Joe Panzeri 71-76-147 84. Zach Bixler 74-74-148118. Alex Prugh 76-75-151

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