April 22, 2011
NEW LONDON, N.C. (seminoles.com) - Florida State's Drew Kittleson birdied his final hole to move to one under par and is in a tie for eighth place in the individual standings and the Seminole men's golf team is in fifth place in the team standings after the first round of the 57th Annual Atlantic Coast Conference Championship at the Old North State Club at Uwharrie Point. The Seminoles received a boost late in the round by Kittleson and fellow All-ACC candidate Brooks Koepka who were a combined two under par over the last three holes of the round.
Playing in the first group of the day with Maryland, the Seminoles were the second group to finish their round. From there it was all about scoreboard watching as Florida State saw itself move quickly up the leader board as other teams played their rounds. The Seminoles played their round in temperatures that stayed in the low 50's with a steady rain throughout the morning.
"Under the circumstances, this was the best start to a tournament that we have had this year," said head coach Trey Jones. "The guys came out ready to play and got off to a good start. While we without question got the bad end of the tee time with rain for the majority of our round, golf is an outdoor sport and we need to learn from some of the mistakes we made during the heavy rain"
No. 4 ranked Georgia Tech, with three players in the top 10 of the individual standings, holds the team lead after the first 18 holes. The Yellow Jackets are playing for their third consecutive ACC men's golf championship. The Seminoles, who entered the event ranked No. 48 nationally, are ahead of No. 22 Virginia and No. 25 NC State with two rounds remaining to be played. Teammates Paul Haley and Kyle Scott of Georgia Tech carded a four under par 68 as is the individual leader after the first round.
Kittleson (Scottsdale, Az.) led the Seminoles with four birdies as he posted his 10th under par round of the year. He was at his best on the front nine as he carded three birdies on his first six holes and made the turn at two under par. Kittleson carded eight holes at par or better with one birdie on the back nine to finish at one under par. He had only two holes over par during the entire round.
"The conditions were tough out there and we seemed to get the worst of it," said Kittleson. "I am proud of my teammates for fighting through the tough weather. We didn't play ourselves out of it which is what you want to do on the first day. We have the ability to go low and will need to in the next to days."
Kittleson is playing in his final ACC Championship and looking for his second career top 10 finish. He finished in a tie for sixth place in the individual standings in helping lead the Seminoles to the ACC Championship title as a freshman in 2008.
"Drew once again led by example and one putted his last eight holes to find a way to post an under par score when there were very few out there today during the weather we encountered," said Jones.
Koepka (Wellington, Fla.), who finished in a tie for fifth at the 2010 ACC Championship, is also playing for his second career top 10 finish in the event. He was one under par over his final 15 holes after a tough start with two bogies on his first three holes. Koepka quickly regrouped and finished the round with three birdies. He was even after the front nine and was never more than two strokes over par during the entire day.
Koepka's 73 in the first round of the 2011 ACC Championship marked his fifth consecutive score at 73 or better in the event. He has now carded six of seven scores at 73 or better in this event including a five under par 67 in the third round of the 2010 tournament.
"Brooks got off to a rough start before the weather was bad and held it together," said Jones. "He played really well on the last 15 holes. He just needs to get his putter going in order to shoot a low round this week."
Freshman Joaquin Lolas (Lima, Peru) played well in the first round of his first career ACC Championship and is in a tie for 20th place with a two over par score of 74. He played 15 of his 18 holes at par or better with one birdie on the front nine. Lolas spent his first 10 holes below par and closed at one over par over his final six holes. Lolas has now played eight consecutive rounds at 74 or better with three scores carded at under par.
"Joaquin continues to impress me; he once again played a steady round and was not far away from shooting a low round," said Jones.
Junior Wesley Graham (Port Orange, Fla.) finished with a score of 76 and is only three strokes from moving into the top 15 of the individual standings. He played 15 holes at par or better with two birdies. Freshman Bjorn Hellgren (Vesteras, Sweden), who is playing in his first ACC Championship, carded a 77 and is in a tie for 41st place with 36 holes to play.
"Wesley's 76 consisted of a double and a triple when he drove the ball out of bounds twice. His misses have to get better for him to compete at the level he expects himself to compete at. I can see he is gaining confidence and he will have a good opportunity to put together a good round. Bjorn got off to a good start but really let the rain bother him. I look for him to come back and play a solid 36 holes of golf. He is playing much better than his score indicated today," said Jones.
"As a team, if each player does their job and plays the way I know they are capable of, this is going to be a fun weekend," said Jones.
57th Annual ACC Men's Golf Championship/Par 72/First Round Florida State Results Old North State Club and Uwharrie Point/New London, N.C./April 22-24, 2011 5/11. Florida State 294 T8. Drew Kittleson 71 T14. Brooks Koepka 73 T20. Joaquin Lolas 74 T35. Wesley Graham 76 T41. Bjorn Hellgren 77
57th Annual ACC Men's Golf Championship/Par 72/First Round Florida State Results Old North State Club and Uwharrie Point/New London, N.C./April 22-24, 2011 1. Georgia Tech 281 T6. NC State 295 2. Duke 289 8. North Carolina 297 3. Clemson 290 9. Virginia Tech 299 4. Wake Forest 293 10. Maryland 304 5. Florida State 294 11. Boston College 314 T6. Virginia 295