USC Tied For NCAA Championsips Round One Lead

May 28, 2008


Freshman Tim Sluiter, who won his first collegiate tournament on March 9 but only has one top 10 finish since, picked a brilliant time to being a march toward his second title, firing a 2-under 70 to lead No. 2 USC into a tie for first place after the first day of the 2008 NCAA Men's Golf Championships on the Kampen Course at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex in West Lafayette, Ind., on Wednesday (May 28).

USC, which has never finished higher than third at the NCAA Championships and whose most recent NCAA top 10 finish was sixth in 2005, is situated nicely after the first day of play.

The Trojans, who have won three of their past four events and four of six, turned in a collective 9-over 297 to match UCLA for the day-one lead. Oklahoma State is in third (298) while Clemson (301) and Kent State (301) are tied for fourth.

Sluiter, who won the USC Collegiate in March, turned in a near flawless outing on a day when only three of the 156 players were under par.

Sophomore Jamie Lovemark, the defending NCAA individual champion, turned out to post the round USC didn't use on Wednesday after finishing at 7-over 79, tied for 86th. It was only the second time this season Lovemark's effort didn't count toward USC's team score.

'It's great way to start, especially when our No. 1 (Lovemark) is not counting,' USC second-year Head Coach Chris Zambri said. 'Jamie shoots 79 and we're tied for first at the NCAA final? That's not bad.

'Tim Sluiter played phenomenally well. I was out there for every shot. It was one of the better rounds that I've ever seen. It's a tough, tough course and he hit the ball very well.'

With the Trojans beginning on the 10th hole, Sluiter was 1-under on the front 9, including a birdie on the 14th hole. He continued to 3-under with birdies on 1 and 3 before a bogey on 5 moved him to 2-under, where he finished. He trails leader Kevin Chappell of UCLA by one stroke and is tied with Kent State's David Markle.

Sophomore Rory Hie joined Sluiter near the top of the leaderboard after a 2-over 74 left him tied for 10th. He bogeyed his first three holes (10-12), birdied his next three (13-15), bogeyed 16 and birdied 18 for an unlikely even front 9. He bogeyed 5 and 9 coming in, settling down some on the way home and putting himself in good position after the first round.

Junior Tom Glissmeyer, unlike Hie, had a relatively quiet front 9 with bogeys on 11 and 14. A double bogey on the 2nd hole left him at 4-over, but he birdied the 3rd, 4th and 6th holes to get back to par. Bogeys on 7 and 9 took a bit of the luster off his rally, but he is still in fine position to try to extend his streak of three consecutive top 6 finishes.

Freshman Matthew Giles, it appeared, would have the Trojans' throwaway round of the day. He was even after five holes before going a collective six over on the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th holes. The Australian native, however, was able to steel himself and fought his way to an even round on the back 9 and is tied for 70th at 6-over 78.

'This course is demanding,' Zambri said. 'You have to really do a lot of things really well. It's long, but it's a combination of long with super high rough. Just hitting it long isn't necessarily going to give you an advantage of you don't hit it straight.

'As far as Jamie is concerned, he's a tough kid and he'll come back for us and factor into the tournament one way or another. Most importantly, mentally, he's not by any means a quitter and he'll be ready to go tomorrow. He'll be fine.'

USC tees off for the second round on Thursday (May 29) with Georgia and Wake Forest at 7 a.m. CST.

Troy's women's team won the NCAA title last week. If the men manage to win their first ever NCAA title, USC will become only the second school ever to win both the NCAA men's and women's team titles in the same year. Arizona State (1990) was the first.

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