May 20, 2010
SOUTH BEND, Ind. –
Florida State sophomore Florida State sophomore Wesley Graham carded a career-low 67 and is in a tie for second place in the individual standings and the No. 15 Seminole men’s golf team is in fourth place after the first round of the NCAA Central Regional Championship at the Warren Golf Course. Graham, who is playing in his first career NCAA regional championship, carded a team-leading six birdies as the Seminoles began their quest to return to the national championship finals for the first time since 2007.
Florida State is tin fourth place among the 14 teams playing in the regional championship that will see the top five teams and the top scoring individual not on one of the qualifying teams will advance to the NCAA Division I Championship at the Honors Course at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, June 1-4.
Stanford holds the team lead with a three stroke advantage over Florida. The Cardinal are one of five teams with two players in the top 10 of the individual standings and the only school in the 14-team field with each of its five players ranked among the top 25. Alexander Sitompul of the University of Michigan is the individual leader as he carded a four-under par score of 66.
“When you are playing or coaching golf you have to be prepared for highs and lows and deal with both,” said head coach Trey Jones. “Today was a roll a coaster day from the start to finish. Wes and Drew kept us in contention today. Wes is putting the ball in good spots off the tee and hitting solid iron shots. Drew started and finished with a bang. He is driving the ball the best he has all year and if he continues to put the ball in play he shoot good scores. He has the best short game in college golf day in day out.”
Graham (Port Orange, Fla.) played the best round of his career as he led the Seminoles on the scoreboard with the lowest score of his career. He played well from the outset with a birdie on his first hole and he played very consistently throughout the round. He quickly went under par with his birdie on the first hole and stayed below par for the remainder of the round. Graham totaled four birdies on his first eight holes and was two under par when he made the turn. He added two additional birdies on the back nine and finished with a three under par score of 67.
Graham’s scored was his eighth career score below 70 and marked the second time in his last four rounds that he had cared a 70 or below. His previous career best was a 68 with the most recent score coming in the second round of the spring 2010 Seminole Intercollegiate.
“I have been playing well lately so I am happy with my first round score,” said Graham. “I felt like everything was close to coming together and I am happy that today was the day. I really didn’t get into any trouble and I made a lot of good putts.”
Junior Drew Kittleson (Scottsdale, Ariz.) finished with a one under par score of 69 and is in a tie for eighth place. He provided the early morning fireworks for the tournaments 75 participants with an eagle two on the par four second hole. Coupled with a birdie on the first hole, Kittleson was three under par after two holes. Kittleson finished the front nine at one over par and went to work on sub par numbers on his back nine. He carded three birdies and only one bogey after making the turn to finish at one under par 69.
It marked the second time in his last three rounds that Kittleson had carded a 69 after finishing with that score in the first round of the Golden Ocala Invitational on May 6.
“We have put ourselves in a good position after the first round,” said Kittleson. If we play the way we are capable we can de well in this event. We are going to get some rest and get after it again tomorrow.”
Freshman Michael Hebert (Orlando, Fla.) is in a tie for 29th place after a two over par score of 72. He carded 15 holes at par or better with two birdies in the first NCAA regional championship round of his career.
“Michael continues to show that he can play with anyone,” said Jones. “We will rely on him to eliminate the mental errors play steady golf the next 36 holes.”
Sophomore Brooks Koepka, the ACC Player of the Year along with Virginia’s Ben Kohles, shot a four over par 74 and is in a tie for 52nd place. Senior Seath Lauer, who along with Koepka earned All-ACC honors in 2010, is tied for 63rd place after carding a 77.
I look for Brooks and Seath to bounce tomorrow,” said Jones. “They had rough back nines today but both are too good to repeat today’s result.
The Seminoles are paired with Virginia Tech and Northwestern in Friday’s second round and will begin play at 8:20 a.m. from the first tee. The event is scheduled to be played over three days and 54 holes.
“There are a lot of talented teams here and we need to take matters into our own hands and play a solid final two rounds,” concluded Jones.
2010 NCAA Central Regional/May 20-22, 2010/First Round FSU Results Warren Golf Course/South Bend, Ind./Par 70 4/14. Florida State 283 T2. Wesley Graham 67 T8. Drew Kittleson 69 T29. Michael Hebert 72 T52. Brooks Koepka 74 T63. Seath Lauer 77
2010 NCAA Central Regional/May 20-22, 2010/First Round Team Results Warren Golf Course/South Bend, Ind./Par 70 1. Stanford 277 T7. Indiana 285 2. Florida 279 9. Iowa 288 3. LSU 280 10. NC State 289 4. Florida State 283 11. Duke 292 T5. Virginia Tech 284 T12. Detroit Mercy 297 T5. Northwestern 284 T12. Murray State 297 T7. Michigan 285 14. St. Francis (Pa.) 310