Esway’s two-under 68 paces Wildcats
TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The University of Arizona men’s golf team tallied a two-over-par 282 Wednesday, which was good enough for third place after the first round of the NCAA Championships in Owings Mills, Md.
Led by the bottom of its lineup, Arizona put forth its best first-round effort at the NCAA Championships since 2002 to grab third place after the first 18 holes. On a day in which only two teams in the field of 30 managed to break par, the Wildcats’ two-over 282 solidly placed the near the top of the leader board. Georgia (274) and Tennessee (279) came in ahead of Arizona, while UNLV and Coastal Carolina (284) are currently tied for fourth place.
Positions three, four and five in the Arizona lineup combined to shoot one-over par Wednesday to jump-start the Wildcat effort. Since shooting a two-under 282 in the opening round at the 2002 Championships in Columbus Ohio, Arizona was a combined 35 strokes over par after one round of the previous two NCAA Championships. UA’s effort today was also a 14-stroke improvement over the team’s first-round performance on this same Caves Valley course in September at The Preview by Ping and Golfweek.
The back nine proved to be the difference for Arizona today, as the four lowest scoring players in the lineup covered the final nine holes in two-under par.
Freshman Travis Esway made his NCAA Championship debut with a two-under 68, which placed him in a tie for ninth place. He made the turn at even par then posted two birdies on the back nine en route to his two-under tally. The 68 equaled his low round this spring, spanning 26 rounds played. The Granite Bay, Calif., product also opened play at the 2005 Pac-10 Championships with a 68 and went on to tie for 19th position.
Sophomore Josh Esler, one of two Wildcats with previous NCAA Championship experience, collected birdies on two of his last three holes to finish the day with a one-over 71. He currently stands in a tie for 33rd place with teammate Nathan Lashley. The senior from Scottsbluff, Neb., collected three birdies over his final 10 holes en route to a 71.
Freshman Brian Prouty, who made his UA varsity debut Wednesday at the Championships, carded a two-over 72 and is tied for 49th place. Sophomore Henry Liaw shot a four-over 74 and is tied for 87th place.
The 72-hole 2005 NCAA Men’s Golf Championships continue through Saturday at Caves Valley Golf Course, a par 70, 7,124-yard layout. Arizona is making its 19th consecutive appearance at the national championship, the second-longest active streak in the country.
Top Five Teams Top Five Individuals
1. Georgia 274 (-6) 1. Kevin Kisner, Georgia 31-34=65 (-5)
2. Tennessee 279 (-1) Major Manning, Augusta State 32-33=65 (-5)
3 ARIZONA 282 (+2) 3. Aaron Price, Georgia Southern 31-35=66 (-4)
4. UNLV 284 (+4) 4. Oscar Alvarez, Brigham Young 35-32=67 (-3)
Coastal Carolina 284 (+4) Mitch Cohlmia, Tulsa 32-35=67 (-3)
Ross McGowman, Tennessee 34-33=67 (-3)
Michael Putnam, Pepperdine 33-34=67 (-3)
James Vargas, Florida 35-32=67 (-3)
T9. Travis Esway 35-33=68 (-2)
T33. Josh Esler 35-36=71 (+1)
T33. Nathan Lashley 37-34=71 (+1)
T49. Brian Prouty 37-35=72 (+2)
T87. Henry Liaw 39-35=74 (+4)