Trojans Two Shots Out of First At NCAA Championships Halfway Point
May 29, 2008
Led by two more strong efforts from sophomore Rory Hie and freshman Tim Sluiter, the No. 2 USC men's golf team sits just two strokes off the lead after arriving at the halfway point of the 2008 NCAA Men's Golf Championships on the Kampen Course at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex in West Lafayette, Ind., on Thursday (May 29).
USC, which has never finished higher than third at the NCAA Championships and whose most recent NCAA top 10 finish was sixth in 2005, turned in a 6-over 291 for a 36-hole 15-over 591 (297-294).
The Trojans, who have won three of their past four events and four of six, are two shots behind first-place No. 14 Clemson (301-288-589) and one behind second-place No. 4 UCLA (297-293-590). No. 7 Florida is fourth (302-291-593), No. 5 Oklahoma State is fifth (298-296-594), Washington is sixth (305-290-595) and No. 1 Georgia is seventh (596).
'The course played a little more scoreable today than yesterday,' USC Head Coach Chris Zambri said. 'We could have done better, but we are in a good position.'
Sluiter is in sixth at 1-under 143 (70-73). His second round featured all pars on the front 9, bogeys on 10 and 12 and a birdie on 16. The freshman from The Netherlands, after his third top 10 finish of the season, is four strokes back of individual leader Billy Horschel of Florida (72-67-139). USC has won four NCAA individual crowns, including sophomore Jamie Lovemark in 2007.
Hie is tied for 10th at 2-over 146 (74-72) after a par round that saw him birdie the 2nd hole, bogey the 12th and card pars the rest of the way. A sophomore who already owns two wins this season, he is after his eighth top 10 mark of the year.
'Tim played great again today,' Zambri said. 'He didn't hit it quite as well as yesterday, but his putting went well and got up and down a couple times when he needed to. Rory was also very solid. I feel really good about us right now.'
Lovemark and freshman Matthew Giles both shaved four strokes from their first-round efforts to contribute to Troy's second round.
Lovemark is tied for 70th at 10-over 154 (79-75). He double bogeyed the par 4 3rd hole only to come back to eagle the par 5 4th hole. He then bogeyed 6 and birdied 8 to secure an even front 9. He was still only 1-over heading into the final two holes before a pair of bogeys dropped him to 3-over for the round.
'It is only a matter of time until Jamie starts playing up to the level that he and I know he is capable of,' Zambri said.
Giles moved into a tie for 54th at 8-over 152 (78-74). He was 1-over on the front 9 with a birdie on the 2nd hole and bogeys on 8 and 9. He eagled the par 5 10th hole to go 1-under for the round before three more bogeys dropped him to 2-over.
Junior Tom Glissmeyer is tied for 85th at 11-over 155 (75-80).
'There are some low scores out there and the guys know they are out there,' Zambri said. 'No one has had a perfect two days. Everyone is really positive and knows this is a four-day event, not two.
'Because it's not an individual event, a guy like Tom, who shot an 80 today, knows he can come out the next two days and post two great rounds and really help the team. Everyone is in good spirits. It's easy to get selfish, but I don't see that at all. Everyone knows we're in this for a team title.'
Play continues Friday and Saturday. USC's women's team won the NCAA title last week. If Troy wins the men's title, USC will become the second team to win both the men's and women's NCAA titles in the same year. Arizona State was the first in 1990.
Live streaming coverage of the third and fourth rounds can be seen at www.golfstat.com, www. ncaa.com and at www.purduesports.com. Friday's third-round live streaming coverage will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3 to 7 p.m. ET. Saturday's final round will stream live from 9 a.m. to completion and through the awards ceremony.