OWINGS MILLS, MD (June 2, 2005) -- This is how well things are going for the Georgia men's golf team at the NCAA Championships. The Bulldogs posted a second-round score of 4-over-par and actually extended their lead.
Georgia reached the midway point of the NCAAs on Thursday boasting a 9-shot advantage over Tennessee at the Caves Valley Golf Club. The Bulldogs had a second-round tally of 4-over 284, giving them a two-day total of 1-under 558, the only red figure through 36 holes.
After the first round on Wednesday, the Bulldogs were up by five shots on Tennessee. Georgia coach Chris Haack reminded his team that it had not won the tournament on the basis of the first round, saying the 72-hole event "is a marathon, not a sprint." The Bulldogs took that to heart, giving all their attention to Caves Valley's par-70, 7,131-yard layout and their 29 opponents in the field on Thursday.
"You've got to put aside thinking about leading or winning and just take it one shot at a time," said junior Richard Scott, who paced the Bulldogs with a 1-under 69 on Thursday. "On this course and with these teams playing, if you lose focus, it can bite you. We're just worrying about each shot. That's what we're focusing on."
"If you had told me after two rounds we'd be under par, I would have taken that without a doubt," Haack said. "I'm proud of the way the guys are playing. They are all focused on the task at hand. They are doing a good job of staying in the present and not getting emotional. When you keep your emotions in check, it's going to help you."
Haack believes a players-only meeting called by team captain Kevin Kisner before the first round on Wednesday is paying dividends. Said Haack, "I don't know what was said in the meeting, but I like the formula. They can have another one if they want to."
According to Kisner, the message was simple.
"I just wanted to make sure everybody was on the same page," Kisner said. "We talked about enjoying this experience. We also talked about the fact that if we all play the way we're capable of, this would be an opportunity we'd never forget."
Sophomore Brendon Todd continued his recent solid play by carding an even-par 70 in the second round. Todd moved to 2-under 138 and into a tie for fifth individually, four shots behind Pepperdine's Michael Putnam. Todd has fired 68 or lower in five of his last seven rounds.
Kisner is at 1-under 139 following a 4-over 74 on Thursday. The first-round co-leader is now tied for 10th. Sophomore Chris Kirk had a 1-over 71 to go to even-par 140 and into a tie for 18th. Scott's 69 pushed him to 1-over 141 and into a tie for 18th. Senior David Denham, who also fired a 4-over 74 on Thursday, is tied for 57th at 6-over 146.
"We haven't won a tournament in the spring, but we've played pretty solid," Todd said. "The problem's been that two guys would play great and three would play mediocre. We've finally got everybody clicking this week."
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-- Courtesy Georgia
ABOUT THE NCAA Championship
National championship of NCAA Division I
golf teams. 54 holes of stroke play determine
individual champion, with the low 8 teams
advancing to match play to determine the
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