Originally created 05/29/03

Jaguars keep on fighting



STILLWATER, Okla. - The Augusta State golf team was following its game plan to perfection Wednesday, staying out of trouble at Karsten Creek Golf Club and steadily moving up the leaderboard in the NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championships.

Through 12 holes, the second-ranked Jaguars, who were 20th after Tuesday's first round, had moved up 13 spots, to seventh.

It all went up in smoke after that.

The team played the 13th hole in 7-over, No. 1 man Oliver Wilson made a quintuple bogey 9 on No. 16, and the Jaguars shot 18-over-par 306. They are tied for 16th at the halfway mark of the 30-team event, 19 shots behind leader UCLA.

"We played really well for 12 holes," Augusta State coach Josh Gregory said. "We were very close to shooting a good number."

Wilson, who opened with 2-under 70, had to birdie the 18th hole to salvage 79. No. 5 man Kalle Edberg had the team's low round, a 73 that included an eagle on the par-5 14th hole. No. 3 man James Heath had 75, No. 2 man Emmett Turner 79 and No. 4 man Scott Jamieson 80.

"It's disappointing, but I know the guys played their hearts out," Gregory said. "We did manage to move up the board somewhat."

Augusta moved up in the standings, but lost ground. The Jaguars were 12 shots out of the lead after the first round but are now 19 back.

The day's shocker was the 9 Wilson took on No. 16, a slight dogleg right par-4. He hit his tee shot into a bush in the left rough, had to take an unplayable lie, then hit a limb on his next shot, knocking the ball into the woods. His next shot still didn't make the fairway. He hit the green on his next one, then 4-putted.

"I've played great for 35 holes, apart from that one," Wilson said.

"I've never seen him do that, especially when he's under pressure," Edberg said. "You don't expect it from him, but he's such a good player, he'll be back with some good scores."

Team leader UCLA produced 295 on Wednesday, the low round of the tournament, and is at 22-over. Fifth-ranked Oklahoma State, the host school and a nine-time national champion, shot 300 and is one shot behind the sixth-ranked Bruins. Top-ranked Clemson had 302 and is three off the pace.

The focus of the tournament continues to be on the punishing Karsten Creek course, a 1994 Tom Fazio design that leaves little margin for error. This is the first time it has been the site of the NCAA championships.

"The golf course is winning, boys," Clemson coach Larry Penley said. "The scoreboard may say UCLA is winning. No, the golf course is winning. Our guys are beyond the stage of complaining; they've realized it's not going to do any good."

The average score through two rounds at the 7,290-yard course has been 78.95, and only Auburn's Lee Williams (3-under after rounds of 69-72) is under par through 36 holes.

"We get a steady diet of this place, and it's not always appetizing," Oklahoma State coach Mike Holder said. "Whatever team and individual survives this week will appreciate what championship golf is all about. No one who plays college golf is used to it."

"It's playing like a U.S. Open course because you're looking for a par on every hole," said Augusta's Adam Cranford of Georgia Tech, who has shot 78-78-156, but did birdie his final three holes Wednesday. "Realistically, if you have a good ball-striking round, you'd like to get in a couple over par."

Clemson, seeking its first NCAA title after two runner-up finishes since 1998, has fired rounds of 299-302.

"We've got to find a way to stop making big numbers," Penley said. "We counted two double bogeys and a triple bogey today. We're not going to win the tournament doing that. I saw a lot of doubt in our eyes today. We've got to go back and get our confidence."

LOCAL TIES: Of the seven golfers in the field with area ties, Augusta's Cortland Lowe of Wake Forest (74-77-151) leads the way.

The others are Aiken's Matt Hendrix of Clemson (76-78-154), Cranford of Georgia Tech (78-78-156), Aiken's Alex Hamilton of South Carolina (79-80-159), Aiken's Kevin Kisner of Georgia (86-76-162), Swainsboro's Will Claxton of Auburn (75-86-163) and Augusta's Jay Mundy (87-76-163) of Auburn.

Reach David Westin at (706) 724-0851.