May 30, 2008
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WEST LAFAYETTE, IND. -
A suspension of play has added more suspense to who will make the final field of 15 teams who will compete in the final round of the NCAA Men's Golf Championships on Saturday.
The No. 1 ranked University of Alabama men's golf team is one of 30 teams gathered at Purdue's Kampen Course at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex competing for the national title at the May 28-31 tournament. On Friday, after 54 holes, the field was to be cut to 15 teams who advance to the final round on Saturday. Half of the field completed their third round play on Friday, including Alabama, however a late afternoon 45-minute lightening delay and then, after play had resumed for about an hour, tornado warnings and rain caused suspension of the round for the day while 15 more teams were still on the course competing.
Results cannot be posted and are not official until the scores from those stranded teams are in; however, at the time of suspension of play for the day, Alabama was tied for 10th with Louisville who was also 39-over par and was among the stranded teams. The Cardinals were on holes 15-17 when the horn sounded Friday evening to suspend play for the day. Based on the scores below Alabama's, the Tide should make the cut and, if so, would likely play no earlier than 10:45 a.m. CT if it is in the wave with the teams seeded 10-12, later, at 11:30 a.m. CT if it is in the seeds 13-15. The teams stranded on Friday will resume and complete the third round at 6 a.m. CT. The final round with the 15 teams that made the cut will begin at 10:00 a.m. CT.
Alabama's 54-hole scores have been 309-297-297/903 on the par 72 course. Senior Joseph Sykora had Alabama's best round of the day, coming in at 1-over par, though he double-bogeyed No. 18, going into the hole at 1-under par. He shot 73 in his round that included four birdies, 10 pars, three bogeys and the double bogey on 18. Michael Thompson shot 3-over par, 75 on Friday. His round included four birdies, eight pars, five bogeys and one double bogey. Mark Harrell shot 3-over par, 75. His round included one birdie, 13 pars, two bogeys and a double bogey. And Matt Hughes shot 10-over par, 82, making three birdies, four pars, nine bogeys and two double bogeys.
"Man, what a hard golf course today," said Alabama head golf coach Jay Seawell. "I'm really proud of my team. We were a kind of desperate team this morning. We had to have a great round and to their credit it was hard all day and they played great golf. The last three holes were so hard. The wind was blowing 25-miles-an-hour in your face, and we didn't play those very well."
Thompson leads Alabama at 9-over par after 54 holes with scores of 76-74-75/225. Harrell is 11-over par, shooting 79-73-75/227. Swan is 12-over par, shooting 75-79-74/228. Sykora is 18-over par, carding 79-82-73/234, and Hughes is 27-over, shooting 90-71-82/243.
Sykora had Alabama's best round on Friday, crediting an overnight delivery of a favorite putter to his improvement. Sykora realized he wanted it with him during the practice rounds earlier in the week and had it shipped. The putter arrived at his hotel on Thursday afternoon and was ready for his bag for Friday morning's 7:35 a.m. CT tee time.
"I got a new putter and played a lot better. It took a lot of pressure off the rest of the game, so I started hitting a little bit better. I didn't start off real good; didn't end real well. That's the only reason I didn't play real well (overall) but it was a lot better today," said Sykora who shot 1-over par Friday after shooting 10-over par on Thursday. "I have more confidence with it, and I just knew I was going to putt well today (with that putter) and I did."
Of the teams who have completed 54 holes, UCLA was the top team in at 24-over par after shooting 10-over par on Friday. Of the teams that had completed play, Alabama had the day's second-lowest round score at 9-over, 297. Stanford shot 8-over par.