CONOVER, N.C. - There are fast starts, then there are FAST starts. Georgia Southwestern standout J.P. Griffin got off to a FAST start on Monday morning in the opening round of the NCAA Division II South/Southeast Golf Regional at the Rock Barn Golf & Spa. Griffin birdied five of his first seven holes before settling in for a tournament-best 4-under 68 to lead the 20-team, 108-player event.
The Hurricanes finished Day 1 at 10-over par and in a tie for 13th place, 12 strokes behind leader Florida Tech. Perhaps more important, GSW remains within striking distance of fifth place (+3) and a birth in the NCAA National Championships.
Griffin leads Taylor Smith of Georgia College by a stroke.
All-PBC First Team selection Craig Gibson is 4-over for the 'Canes, tied for 64th. Gibson carded three bogeys over his first six holes before dropping a birdie on the seventh. A double bogey on 12 was his only non-par score the rest of the way.
Nate Gahman finished a stroke behind Gibson after ending the day with an eagle on the 18th hole. Christopher Hall matched Gahman with a 5-over 77 and Travis Oestmann carded a birdie on the 18th to finish with an 80.
Southwestern golfers will be paired once again with competitors from Wingate University and the University of North Alabama in Round 2 on Tuesday afternoon. Live stats are available throughout the three-day South/Southeast Regional at the following link.
Oestmann starts things off at 12:50 p.m. and will be followed by Hall (1 p.m.), Griffin (1:10 p.m.) and Gahman (1:20 a.m.). Gibson will be in the final group of the day at 1:30 p.m.
GSW is just one of 80 teams participating in the NCAA Tournament, but they look to finish in the top five of the twenty teams in the regional in order to qualify for the Super-Regional round of play. If they do so they will play May 15–19 in Louisville, Ky. in the NCAA National Championships.
2012 SOUTH/SOUTHEAST NCAA REGIONAL - TEAM SCORES
|Rd 1||Rd 2||Rd 3||Total|
|(RV) Florida Tech
|(21) Barton College
|(16) Georgia College||291||291
|(25) Rollins College
|(13) USC Aiken||294||294
|(8) UNC Pembroke
|(14) Florida Southern||297||297||+9|
|(2) Nova Southeastern||298||298||+10|
|(7) West Florida||298||298||+10|
|(4) North Alabama||298||298||+10|
|(RV) Columbus State||301||301
|( ) - NCAA Division II ranking in latest Golf World/Nike Golf Coaches Poll with RV = received votes|