Men's Golf And Jesper Kennegard In The Hunt For NCAA Title After First Round
June 1, 2010
Junior Jesper Kennegard posted a 4-under 68 in leading ASU (#16 Golfweek/#16 Golfstat/#9 Nike-Golf Coaches) into a tie for fifth after the first round of competition at the NCAA men's golf championships Tuesday at The Honors Course (par-72/7,395 yards) in Chattanooga, Tenn. Kennegard is tied for the individual lead with Augusta State's Henrik Norlander.
The top eight teams after 54 holes of stroke play will advance to match play, with the quarterfinals being held Friday (June 4), the semifinals on Saturday (June 5) and the championship match set for Sunday (June 6). Only five of the eight teams that advanced to the match play portion in 2009 are part of the 30-team championship field this year, as Arkansas, Georgia and Michigan did not make the 2010 Championships.
'If you would have told me that we were going to shoot 2-under, I would have taken it in a heartbeat because you never know if the weather is going to be absolutely perfect like it was,' said 18th-year ASU head coach Randy Lein, who led ASU to the 1996 NCAA title at The Honors Course. 'We easily could have shot three or four shots better because I think that we counted three doubles and a triple (bogey). At most college tournament, you can't recover from that, but here when you make a stretch of six pars and a birdie, you made up a couple shots of the field. I think that we were unable to take advantage of number 17, which is an easy par-5.'
The 2010 NCAA Championships will see the team champion determined via match play for the second straight year, as 2009 was the first time the winner wasn't awarded by total strokes since 1965.
The NCAA individual champion will be crowned after the first three-rounds of stroke play competition (June 1-3), which is what Kennegard is firmly in the hunt for after the first 18 holes.
'It (the round) was solid. I was 5-under after eight, then had some trouble coming in. I kept it in there and finished up pretty good with a birdie on the last to shoot 4-under,' said Kennegard. 'No. 7 is a tough hole. I made a good bogey there. Otherwise, if you just keep hitting the fairways, which I did today, you should play pretty well out there.'
Kennegard had six birdies and an eagle on No. 17 (his eighth as ASU started on the back nine), a par-5 545 yard hole. He has won three college tournaments in his three years as a Sun Devil, including the 2010 Southern Highlands Masters in Nevada. He also won the 2009 NCAA West Regional and the 2008 Hawaii-Hilo Intercollegiate.
While Kennegard carried the team early, it was consistent play by the other four that closed the solid round. In the final four holes, Pinckney and Borsheim were 1-under while Byrne and Marquez each posted four pars. Marquez showed some toughness as after starting the first seven holes at 10-over, he played the final 11 at 1-under with three birdies.
Arizona State is one of just a dozen teams to play in the past two NCAA Championships and that have advanced in 2010. UCLA, Stanford, USC, Oklahoma State, Washington, Florida, Texas A&M, Illinois, Texas, Virginia and Oregon are the others.
ASU, Oklahoma State, USC, Texas A&M and Washington finished in the top eight last year in stroke play and competed in match play. ASU lost to eventual NCAA champion Texas A&M in the first round.
ASU INDIVDUAL NCAA CHAMPIONS
Alejandro Canizares (Fr.), 2003 at Stillwater, Okla.
Todd Demsey (So.), 1993 at Lexington, Ky.
Phil Mickelson (Sr.), 1992 at Albuquerque, N.M.
Phil Mickelson (So.), 1990 at Tarpon Springs, Fla.
Phil Mickelson (Fr.), 1989 at Edmond, Okla.
Jim Carter (Jr.), 1983 at Fresno, Calif.