June 2, 2010
OOLTEWAH, Tenn. - Florida State set a course record with a 279 team score and it extended its lead in the team standings to five strokes over Oklahoma State and 10 strokes over Georgia Tech after the first two rounds of the NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championship at The Honors Course. The Seminoles had each of their five golfers finish under par for the first time this season and enter the final round of stroke play on Thursday in position to finish as one of the to eight teams that will advance to the match play portion of the event where the national championship team will be determined beginning Friday.
The second round was halted because of darkness brought on by a rain delay earlier in the afternoon. The second round will be completed on Thursday before the third begins.
Seminole senior Seath Lauer is in a tie for fifth place in the individual standings with a two day total of 139. He is only four strokes behind the individual Alex Chin of San Diego who carded a six under par 66 in the second round and has a two day total of nine under par 135.
The Seminoles are five strokes ahead of Oklahoma State, 10 strokes ahead of Georgia Tech, 13 strokes ahead of Augusta State and 14 strokes ahead of San Diego and Florida. Florida State was in a tie for first with Oklahoma State after the first round with the Seminoles finishing five strokes better than they Cowboys in the second round. Florida State is the only team in the field with four players currently ranked in the top 15 of the individual standings - Lauer (fifth), Drew Kittleson (tied for seventh), Michael Hebert (tied for 11th) and Brooks Koepka (tied for 15th).
The top eight teams after Thursday's third round advance to a single elimination match play tournament that will determine the national champion. The individual champion will be determined at the end of Thursday's third round of stroke play.
"The guys continued to play with confidence and make good decisions," said head coach Trey Jones. "The weather and course were perfect this morning and we took advantage of the conditions."
Lauer (Huntington, Ind.) continued to play well as he carded his second consecutive sub-par round with a two under par score of 70. He was nearly perfect in the second round as he carded 17 holes at par or better with three birdies and only one bogey. In the first two rounds of the NCAA Championship finals, Lauer has carded seven birdies and only two bogeys. Lauer has been under par for all but six holes of the championship, has been as many as two under par in both of the first two rounds and was at four under during the first round.
Lauer was two under par on his first nine and even par on his second nine. He is a combined total of three strokes under par on his pair of first nine holes and a total of two under par on his back nines. Both of his bogeys came on his back nine with his bogey in the second round followed directly by a birdie and seven consecutive holes of par to close out the round. Lauer's 36 hole total of 139 is the second best of his career and is only one stroke off of his career best two round total of 138.
"As a team we got off to a great start and that's the best you can hope for," said Lauer. "To have all five of the guys on our team under par in single round in a national championship event is just incredible. This team is playing as sharp as we ever have and we are just looking to continue playing well as a team."
Lauer continued to keep himself in contention for the individual national title which will be decided after Thursday's third and final round of stroke play.
"From a personal standpoint, I'm going to stick to my game plan, be patient and see what happens," said Lauer. "This is a very exciting time for our team and I am really excited that all of the guys on our team are playing well."
"Seath is playing well and is managing his game well," said Jones. "He is doing exactly what you want a senior to do."
Hebert (Orlando, Fla.) led the Seminoles with a four under par score of 68 in the second round. He continued to rely on his irons and his putter as he recorded six birdies and 10 holes at par during the second round. Hebert carded three times as many birdies in the second round (six) than he did in his first round (two) and scored fewer bogeys in the second round (two) as compared to the first round (one).
"We got off to an incredible start today," said Hebert. "Wes led the way early on and the rest of us we able to post some good scores on a course that we think is very difficult. Personally, I feel like I played steady throughout the round and hit some good shots when I need to in order to keep myself in the round."
Hebert was never above par in the second round as he carded a birdie on his second hole to move under par at minus one. An unfortunate bogey came on his next hole to bring him back to par but two straight birdies on his next two holes allowed him to move under par for the remainder of the round. Hebert was two under on his first nine and was bogey free and two under par on his second nine.
"Michael looks like an upperclassman instead of a freshman," said Jones. "He is showing his potential and he will only get better."
Hebert, who carded his career best score of 64 in the third round of the NCAA Central Regional two weeks ago, has been at or below par in four of his last seven rounds. His 36 hole total of 141 allowed him to come within one stroke of tying his career best score for 36 holes (140 in the first two rounds of the Gary Koch Intercollegiate in the fall of 2009). He has been over par with his overall score for a total three of his first 36 holes at this week's NCAA Championship finals.
Kittleson (Scottsdale, Az.) continued to rank as the Seminoles' second leading golfer as he carded his second consecutive round of two under par 70. He has moved into a tie for sixth place in the individual standings to allow Florida State and Oklahoma State to rank as the only two teams in the championship with two golfers ranked in the top 10 of the individual standings.
"Drew played another solid round," said Jones. "I look for him to come out and play a good round tomorrow."
Kittleson carded four birdies and was at or below par for all but two holes during the round. He carded two bogeys during the round but immediately followed them up with birdies to keep himself on track for a second consecutive strong round. Kittleson was even par on his first nine with two birdies and two bogeys and was two under par with two birdies and seven holes at par on his second nine.
"I didn't feel like I hit the ball today as well as I did yesterday but I was able to make some saving putts that helped my final score," said Kittleson. "I feel like I am a putt or two away from shooting a really low number."
"It's really fun to see the other players on our team playing so well," Kittleson continued. "I have often said that all of the talent on this team can be scary when we play well at the same time. When our talent comes together and we are all playing well we fell like we can compete with any team in the nation. We still need to finish strong tomorrow and finish well to ensure our spot in mach play. Nothing will be given to us; all of the teams in this event are too good for us to think that this event will just be handed to us."
Koepka (Wellington, Fla.) continued his solid play as he carded his second consecutive score of one under par 71. He has a two day total of 142. Koepka was under par for 17 of his holes during the second round with three birdies and only two bogeys. Koepka was stellar over his first nine with two birdies and a minus two score and strong with one birdie and a minus one score on his second nine. He closed his round with a birdie on his final hole to finish at one under par for the round.
Koepka's three birdies in the second round brought his total to eight in the first two rounds of the tournament. He has recorded 31 of 36 rounds at par or better in the first two rounds of the tournament.
"This course is a lot like the course we played during the regional championship," said Koepka. "You have to think your way around the course and it really narrows your focus for the entire 18 holes. We are playing well as a team and clicking as five players playing as one team. We are hitting on all cylinders right now and it's a great time of the year to be playing well. It's really fun to be playing the way we are all playing in this tournament."
Koepka was named to the Division Southeast Regional All-American Team by Ping on Wednesday.
"Brooks is hitting good putts that are burning the edges," said Jones. "He needs to stay patient and let his natural ability take over."
Sophomore Wesley Graham (Port Orange, Fla.) earned the best one-day improvement of his five Seminole teammates as he finished the second round with a one under par score of 71. He finished with a five over par score of 77 in the first round and has a two day total of 148.
"I hit the ball in the beginning of the round as well as I have recently," said Graham. "I struggled in the middle of the round but I feel okay about the overall round because of my start."
Graham began the round as hot as any golfer on the course with five consecutive birdies to put his score at five under par. He finished his final 13 holes at four over par to close with his one under par score. He carded seven birdies in the round as compared to his three birdies in the first round.
"Wes birdied his first five holes and came close on hole NO. 6," said Jones. "He put the ball in a few bad spots on the back nine and this course made him pay for that."
The Seminoles will close out stroke play in the third round and will play with Oklahoma State and Georgia Tech.
NCAA Championship Finals/Par 72./Second Round Florida State Results The Honors Course/Ooltewah, Tenn./June 1-6, 2010 1/30. Florida State 283 279 562 T5. Seath Lauer 69 70 139 T7. Drew Kittleson 70 70 140 T11. Michael Hebert 73 68 141 T15. Brooks Koepka 71 71 142 T68. Wesley Graham 77 71 148
NCAA Championship Finals/Par 72,/Second Round Team Results The Honors Course/Ooltewah, Tenn./June 1-6, 2010 1. Florida State -14 T15. Kent State +9 2. Oklahoma State -9 T17. LSU +10 3. Georgia Tech -4 T17. Texas +10 4. Augusta State -1 T17. UNLV +10 T5. Florida E T20. Baylor +11 T5. San Diego E T20. California +11 T7. Washington +1 T20. Illinois +11 T7. Clemson +1 T20. Texas Tech +11 T9. Oregon +2 24. Oregon State +12 T9. Arizona State +2 25. Texas A&M +13 T11. Stanford +4 26. Georgia Southern +14 T11. Virginia +4 T27. Duke +15 T11. UCLA +4 T27. Tennessee +15 14. North Florida +8 29. TCU +22 T15. Southern Cal. +9 30. Penn State +24