Southerners rise in Division I tournament at Caves Valley

College Golf

June 02, 2005|By John W. Stewart | John W. Stewart,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Representatives from the state of Georgia took charge of the first round of the NCAA men's Division I golf championships at Caves Valley Golf Club yesterday.

Kevin Kisner tied for the day's low round with a 5-under-par 65 and led the University of Georgia to a five-stroke lead over the University of Tennessee in the team race. Major Manning of Augusta (Ga.) State also shot 65, and Aron Price from Georgia Southern was alone in third at 66.

Georgia and Tennessee were the only ones in the 30-team field with sub-par totals. Par for the 7,137-yard course is 70, and features two of the longest par-4 holes in tournament history, the 490-yard sixth and the 480-yard 17th.

Oklahoma State provided the day's biggest surprise. The No. 1-ranked Cowboys, winners of the Preview tournament held at Caves Valley last fall and seven tournaments this spring, beat only six teams with their 292 total.

Defending individual champion Ryan Moore of Nevada-Las Vegas was in the same boat. The reigning U.S. Public Links and U.S. Amateur champion from Puyallup, Wash., never got going and finished at 72. "I'm used to grinding; I just didn't do it very well this time." he said.

Kisner, a junior from Aiken, S.C., started at No. 10, birdied the 16th, then picked up the pace with four front-nine birdies from inside 10 feet to complete his 65. He knocked in a 5-foot putt on his last hole to claim the top spot.

It was Kisner's best round of the season. "I've been letting the team down all semester," he said. "We've had three guys playing well and the team needed my help."

The closest he came to making a bogey was at the second hole where he needed a 25-foot putt to save his par. Manning, a sophomore from Clarksville, Ga., bogeyed the 12th, then played his last 15 holes in 6-under, with four birdies and an eagle-3 at the 564-yard seventh hole.

Price, a senior from Sydney, Australia, had a 66, with four birdies on the front and a birdie and a bogey on the back. Mitch Cohlmia, from the University of Tulsa, was 5-under through 14 holes, then slipped back with bogeys at the 15th and 17th.

Play continues with single rounds today and tomorrow, followed by a 54-hole cut. The low 15 teams and six best individuals not on an advancing team will move on to Saturday's final.

Scores

First round, par 70

Team leaders

1, Georgia, 274. 2, Tennessee, 279. 3, Arizona, 282. 4 (tie), UNLV and Coastal Carolina, 284. 6, Brigham Young, 285. 7 (tie), Georgia Southern and Augusta State, 286. 9 (tie), SMU, Georgia State and Wake Forest, 287. 12 (tie), Duke, Georgia Tech and Arkansas, 288. 15 (tie), Florida, New Mexico and Washington, 289.

Individual leaders

Kevin Kisner, Georgia, 65; Major Manning, Augusta State, 65; Aron Price, Georgia Southern, 66; Oscar Alvarez, Brigham Young, 67; Mitch Cohlmia, Tulsa, 67; Ross McGowan, Tennessee, 67; Michael Putnam, Pepperdine, 67; James Vargas, Florida, 67; Travis Esway, Arizona, 68; Robert Gates, Texas A&M, 68; Webb Simpson, Wake Forest, 68; Brendon Todd, Georgia, 68; Martin Ureta, North Carolina, 68.

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