Nittany Lion Golfers Fire Best Round Of NCAA Central Regional To Leap Into Third Place Tie
May 16, 2008
Columbus, Ohio, May 16, 2008 - The Nittany Lion golf team made a big move Friday at the NCAA Central Regional in Columbus, Ohio firing the best round of any team in the tournament so far and leaping 16 spots into a tie for third place.
On a cool, misty and windy day at the 7,455-yard, par-71 Ohio State Scarlet Course, Penn State recovered from a rough opening round and 19th place standing after the first day to post a 2-over par round of 286 Friday. It marked the best round of any of the 27 teams in the field after two days of competition.
"We really did some neat things out there today," Penn State coach Greg Nye said. "Yesterday, we were 20-over par after 13 holes and played even par through the final five holes, which is a very challenging stretch. Our guys just carried that momentum over into today and played very well."
The Nittany Lions, ranked No. 37 by Golfstat, stand tied for third with Big Ten rival Illinois with a two-round total of 22-over par 590. Nineteenth ranked Wake Forest, which had three golfers in the top four and posted the second best round of the tournament with a 287 on the day, leads the tournament at 9-over par 577. Third ranked Alabama was second 10 strokes back at 19-over par and just three strokes ahead of the Lions. Penn State currently stands ahead of three schools ranked in the Top 10 and five and in the Top 20. The top 10 teams advance to the NCAA Championships, May 28-31 on the Kampen Course at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex in West Lafayette, Ind.
Leading the charge were senior Robert Rohanna (Waynesburg, Pa.) and sophomore Kevin Foley (Somerville, N.J) who both fired rounds of 1-under par 70 to move into a tie for eighth place with identical two round totals of 3-over par 145. They both jumped 31 spots up the leader board on Friday. The pair stand six strokes off the pace set by tournament leader Kevin Tway of Oklahoma State who posted a 69 Friday to go with his opening round of 70 to stand at 3-under par 139.
With the Nittany Lions starting on the back nine Friday morning in difficult conditions, Rohanna posted four birdies on his way to an even par 35 on the backside before logging eight pars and a birdie for a 35 on the front side. Foley posted two birdies on his way to a 34 on the back nine before matching three bogeys with three birdies on the front side for an even par 36.
The play of the two Big Ten standouts has them in a strong position to gain individual NCAA bids should the Nittany Lions fail to place among the top 10 teams that will receive NCAA Championship berths.
The Nittany Lions can make that a moot point if they continue to play as well as they did Friday. All five Nittany Lions logged a 75 or better on the day as Penn State posted a score 18 strokes lower than their opening round 304. The have a seven-stroke cushion over 10th place Kent State at 597. Penn State played aggressively logging 18 birdies and an eagle on the day as they went for scoring chances.
"It will be an unbelievable dog fight tomorrow with all these great teams playing for an NCAA bid," Nye said. "We have to continue to play to win and be aggressive and not look back."
Senior Harvin Groft (State College, Pa.) embodied that aggressive mind set on Friday with his eagle on the par-5, 586-yard fourth hole. Groft hit his tee shot into the rough under a tree, but instead of laying up fired a five iron under a limb and over a water hazard out of the lie setting himself up for a 130-yard third shot into the green. He pulled a nine iron from his bag and promptly flew the ball directly into the cup for his eagle.
"They had to recut the hole because Harvin's shot did so much damage to the lip of the cup," a bemused Nye said.
Groft posted a round of 3-over par 74 and stands tied for 69tht at 10-over par 152. Sophomore T.J. Howe (Osceola, Pa.) was sharp on the day after a rough start. Standing 5-over par after five holes on the day, Howe posted nine pars and four birdies to close out his round, including a 3-under par 33 on the front nine, to post a total of 1-over par 72 for the day. He stands tied for 29th at 6-over par 148.
Junior Chad Bricker (Waynesboro, Pa.), was also solid on the day after a rough opening round of 84 on Thursday. Bricker had four birdies and was just two over on the day after 16 holes, but posted double-bogey on the par-3 eighth hole. He still managed a strong score of 4-over par 75 on the day, nine strokes better than his opening round. He stands in 125th place with a total of 17-over par 159.
Action concludes in the 54-hole tournament with 18 holes on Saturday.