Georgia coach Chris Haack said his team has to start making birdies if it hopes to be one of the top eight that advances to match play in the NCAA men’s golf championships at the Capital City Club’s Crabapple Course.
The Bulldogs couldn’t take advantage of Wednesday morning’s scoring conditions and shot 3 over in the second round. They are 9 over for the tournament, nine strokes behind the eighth-place team, Texas A&M (even).
“I don’t think we’re putting very well,” Haack said. “The greens were accessible today, but we didn’t take advantage of it. If we can start making putts, anything can happen. Maybe tomorrow will be the day they all fall in.”
Haack said his team will be have to play aggressively. Joey Garber (1 over) leads the Bulldogs.
“We can’t wait for other teams,” Haack said. “We have to go out and get it done.”
Slow play: UCLA’s Jonathan Garrick was assessed a one-stroke penalty for slow play Wednesday.
After his group’s round was over, the trio of golfers signed their cards and were asked to speak to two rules officials in the clubhouse. An official in the scoring tent could be overheard saying the group finished at least 20 minutes behind the pace of play.
They returned almost an hour later, where it was announced that Garrick, not either playing partner, Max Homa of California or Scott Strohmeyer of Alabama, received the penalty. Garrick finished with a 71. The UCLA team, which is 10 over, left before Garrick could be reached for comment.
“It wasn’t fun,” Homa said of the meeting. “I wouldn’t wish that on anybody.”
The players are expected to complete each hole in 14 minutes. There are checkpoints at holes 4, 9, 13 and 18. Failing to meet two checkpoints in time could result in everyone in the group receiving a penalty. Homa said they didn’t make the checkpoints in time on 9 and 18.
Homa said the group fell behind after having to move spectators on No. 9 and a 10-minute wait in the fairway on the 520-yard No. 16. They also fell behind by six minutes on No. 18, which Homa said he couldn’t explain.
Homa said he couldn’t remember a group in which he played being penalized for slow play, which is a constant criticism on the PGA Tour.
“It was kind of surprising. I play pretty fast,” Homa said. “I was shocked.”
Best round of the day: Arkansas’ Nicolas Echavarria tied TCU’s Julien Brun for the round of the day, a 6-under 64.
It may also have been the surprise round of the day.
Echavarria, a freshman, has shot par or lower only six times this year and had yet to break 70. His best three-round tournament score is 4 over, which came at the Fayetteville Regional. His scoring average entering the championships was 75.5.
He is 6 under for the tournament and in the running for the individual championship.
“I got off to a hot start,” he said. “I only missed one green and played pretty solid.”
Etc.: A snake, estimated to be 5 feet long, delayed play for a few minutes on the No. 11 fairway about 120 yards from the green Wednesday afternoon.
The group affected was Jonathan De los Reyes of Saint Marys, Greg Yates of Texas A&M and Matthew NeSmith of South Carolina. After the snake slithered into the rough on the far right side of the fairway, play resumed.