WILLIAMSBURG, VA. After a nightmare start that found the team 10-over par going into the fourth hole, the No. 3 ranked University of Alabama golf team snapped back and ended up finishing the second round of the 2007 NCAA Men’s Golf Championships at 3-under par Thursday. Alabama is in 10th place after 36 holes, shooting 284-283/567 which is 7-over par.
“We got off to a horrible start,” said Alabama head coach Jay Seawell. “We were 10-over par through the first three holes, and, to the guys’ credit, they played great from there on in. To get in at 3-over after being 10-over, I’m very proud of them for that. But now we’ve got to learn how to get started. We’ve had a bad start each day and have come back each day. At the national championships, you can’t have bad starts. You can’t have bad finishes or bad middles, so we need to clean up our start and play the golf that we’ve been playing after about the first three or four holes. We’ll be fine if we can turn that around a little bit.”
While the tournament is 72 holes and the final round is Saturday, after 54 holes, which is Friday’s round, the field is cut in half, to 15 teams.
“We need to shoot a low number if we want to get ourselves back in the tournament,” said Seawell who has coached Alabama to four team tournament championships this season. “The other teams are showing that there are good rounds out here. There are bad rounds. You saw No. 1 ranked Georgia 9-over today and some of the teams are eight or nine under. So if we get a good start Friday, I think we’ll find a way to get ourselves back into it.”
Montgomery’s Matthew Swan owned Alabama’s low round Thursday and its low round so far for the tournament. He’s tied for 12th. Swan shot 2-under, 68, on the par 70 Golden Horseshoe Golf Club Course. Swan capped his second round with a birdie on 18 after a round that included an eagle on No. 6, a par 5, and five birdies despite a nightmare start. Coupling the 68 with the 70 he shot in Wednesday’s opening round, Swan is two under going into the third round.
“I think the course played about the same today as it did yesterday,” said Swan. “I got off to a real bad start. I bogeyed my first three holes but I came back and had a birdie and an eagle, so I got it back to one under, two birdies and an eagle on that side, so I kind of felt pretty good about that. And I did the same thing on the back. I doubled my 10th hole but had some birdies coming in and ended up shooting 1-under on that side as well. So I felt pretty good, having all those bogeys but being able to bounce back.”
Minnesota’s Bronson LaCassie shot 5-under to move into first place on the individual leader board, putting together back-to-back rounds of 67-65/132. He leads Vanderbilt’s Jon Curran by two shots.
For Alabama, besides Swan, Joseph Sykora shot 2-over, 72, in round two and is T-44th (70-72/142) at 2-over par. Tied at 58th is Michael Thompson who shot 1-over, 71 on Thursday (72-71/143). He’s 3-over for the tournament. At 6-over par and among a tie at 102nd are two Alabama golfers, Gator Todd and Mark Harrell. Todd shot 74 in the second round (72-74/146) and Harrell shot 72 (74-72/146).
Top-seeded and No. 1 ranked Georgia stumbled at 9-over in the second round and is 11 over for the tournament and in 16th place and on the bubble of making the cut. Stanford leads after 36 holes and is 7-under for the tournament (583). Minnesota is second (554), followed by Coastal Carolina (558), East Tennessee State (560), Charlotte (562), Georgia Tech and UCLA (563), Oklahoma State and Texas (566), at 10th Alabama (567), Georgia State and Florida (568), South Carolina and Vanderbilt (569), Michigan State (570), Georgia, Tennessee and Florida State (571), Lamar, North Carolina, and Duke (572), Tulsa and Southern Cal (575), Arizona State (577), Wake Forest and Louisville (580), New Mexico (581), Auburn (586), and, at 30th, Texas Tech (587).
Harrell will lead Alabama off on Friday at 7:07 a.m. CT from the No. 10 tee, followed by Todd at 7:17, Thompson at 7:26, Sykora at 7:36 and then Swan at 7:45. Alabama is playing with Georgia State and Florida. Georgia State is coached by former Tide golfer Matt Clark, a native of Prattville.