Harsh conditions hamper Dogs, Jackets in first round of NCAA golf championship

Maxwell Ford during the first round of the NCAA Championships at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Friday, May 27, 2022. (Photo by Steven Colquitt)

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Maxwell Ford during the first round of the NCAA Championships at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Friday, May 27, 2022. (Photo by Steven Colquitt)

It was not a great start for Georgia’s three representatives at the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship Friday.

Playing in difficult afternoon conditions at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., No. 15 Georgia needed a strong finish to climb into a tie for 11th, and No. 11 Georgia Tech wound up in 23rd. No. 41-ranked Georgia Southern played in the morning wave and shot 15-over 295 and is tied for 16th.

Although the results weren’t great, neither were they tragic.

“We’re not concerned about the standings,” Georgia freshman Maxwell Ford said. “We’re really not looking at any leaderboards. Our plan is to keep swinging, all do our best, count them up at the end, and see what happens.”

No. 3 Vanderbilt shot a 2-over 282 to take a first-round lead by three strokes ahead of No. 17 Auburn and No. 27 Oregon. No. 1 Oklahoma is sixth at 7 over.

Of the top 10 teams, five began their rounds in the morning when conditions were much milder. Only seven players were able to break 70, as the temperatures soared to 103 degrees and stressed the greens.

Georgia was led by the freshman Ford, who shot an even-par 70 round that included a birdie on the final hole and leaves him tied for eighth overall. Trent Phillips, a finalist for national player of the year, had a consistent 71. The Bulldogs also counted a 74 from Ben Van Wyk, who battled past a double-bogey and made four birdies, and freshman Buck Brumlow with a 76.

“We need to keep playing solid golf,” Georgia coach Chris Haack said. “I saw a lot of good things out of our guys today. They were patient and they did not get in their own way. We’ll clean up a few things here and there, and we’ll be OK.”

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Christo Lamprecht reacts after a birdie in the first round of the NCAA Championship at Grayhawk Golf Club, Scottsdale, Ariz. Lamprecht shot 73.

Credit: Tim Cowie

Christo Lamprecht reacts after a birdie in the first round of the NCAA Championship at  Grayhawk Golf Club, Scottsdale, Ariz. Lamprecht shot 73.

Credit: Tim Cowie

Combined ShapeCaption
Christo Lamprecht reacts after a birdie in the first round of the NCAA Championship at Grayhawk Golf Club, Scottsdale, Ariz. Lamprecht shot 73.

Credit: Tim Cowie

Credit: Tim Cowie

Georgia Tech struggled on its first nine, settled down a bit on the back and finished 18-over 298. Christo Lamprecht and Bartley Forrester were the low men for the Yellow Jackets, each with a 3-over 73. Tech also had to count a pair of 6-over 76s from Ross Steelman and Connor Howe.

“We made a lot of bad bogeys,” Georgia Tech coach Bruce Heppler said. “It got really firm and fast. The hole locations were in every corner and the scores indicated from the afternoon with the good teams that it just played really, really hard and we didn’t play very well.”

Georgia Southern’s Mason Williams, a senior who has a win and six top-10s in eight events this season, led the Eagles with a 1-under 69 and is tied for third. Southern also counted Wilson Andress (73), freshman Hogan Ingram (76) and freshman Bradley Baker and Ben Carr (77s).

Georgia and Georgia Tech will play the second round on Saturday morning, with Georgia Southern going off in the afternoon. The starting times for Sunday’s third round will be according to score.

“We’ve got to get up early, early in the morning and play one really, really good round in the morning,” Heppler said. “Whether the wind blows in the morning and the wave switches … that’s why until you’re done with (Saturday), you really don’t know where you stand.”

The top 15 teams after 54 holes will advance to Monday’s fourth round. The top eight teams following four rounds advance to match play.