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After one day of the NCAA men's golf championships, the top two men's golf teams in the country are tied for first place.
Oklahoma State and Georgia have gotten the job done so far simply by "surviving Inverness," Georgia coach Chris Haack said. The two powerhouse programs were able to handle the afternoon winds at Inverness Club yesterday and finished the day at four-over par 288.
"We played well and didn't let anything crazy happen," Haack said. "The wind picked up and it was very tough out there. Judging by the scores out there you know that at any given time the course can rise up and bite you."
Oklahoma State started out several strokes under par on the back nine, but ran into trouble on the third hole, scoring a bogey, a double and a triple. The Cowboys rebounded well with two birdies in the last two holes, Trent Leon leading the way at even par.
"It was a hard nine holes of golf on a championship golf course," Oklahoma State coach Mike McGraw said. "We finished well the last two-three holes and that was good for us."
The top eight teams after 54 holes advance to match play. Oklahoma State tees off in the second round at 7 a.m. today and Georgia begins at 7:20.
The teams who teed off in the morning Tuesday, despite having to endure some rain for a handle of holes, ended up having better playing conditions. Chattanooga (third), San Diego (tied for fourth) and Ohio State (tied for sixth) all took advantage.
Others in the afternoon didn't fare as well. Third-seeded Florida is tied for last and fifth-seeded UCLA tied for 24th. Alabama's Bud Cauley, ranked fifth in the country, is last of the individuals after shooting 87.
Three players are tied for the individual lead with 2-under 69s: Northwestern's Jonathan Bowers, Matt Hill of North Carolina State and Illinois' Scott Langley. Langley birdied No. 18 and Hill bogeyed the hole.
"Overall I feel like I put myself in a really good position," said Hill, ranked third in the country. "I have a lot of confidence right now. It was tough to judge the winds at times. I just tried to hit some low shots and run them down the fairway."
Bowers, with the low round of the early tee times, felt the course was easier during the morning rain.
"Some of the pins were pretty accessible because the rain softened things up," Bowers said. "It didn't play quite as firm and fast as it did in the practice round."
Langley, a lefty, used six birdies to score well despite two bogeys and a double.
"I hit a speed bump in the middle of my round and I just told myself, it's going to happen out here, this course is playing tough," Langley said. "I was able to make a couple birdies coming in."
Just five other players in the field of 156 are under par, including Tom Hoge of TCU. Hoge was cruising at 4-under going into his last hole, but tripled No. 9 to end the day.
"It's a long golf tournament and one hole isn't going to kill you," Hoge said. "It's a little frustrating to leave some shots out there on the last hole, but I know we have a lot of work to do."
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