May 29, 2002
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The UAB men's golf team shot a nine-over-par 293 in rainy weather conditions to tie for 27th after first round play at the NCAA Championships held at The Ohio State University's Scarlet Course. Freshman Ryan Thomas was the top finisher for the Blazers, as he fired a two-under-par 69 to tie for seventh.
The first round of the 2002 NCAA Men's Golf Championships was suspended at 4:26 p.m. (EST) Wednesday when heavy rains forced the afternoon wave of 15 teams off the course. The other 15 teams, including UAB, out of the 30-team field were able to finish today's round despite a brief period of morning rain.
Donnie Wagner, NCAA liaison for the men's golf championship, said the condition of the course prompted the end of first round play.
"The bunkers are under water right now which causes a problem," Wagner said. "We're going to start tomorrow morning. We're not sure when, though. The committee will discuss tonight how tomorrow will run."
Junior All-American Graeme McDowell, who is the top-ranked player in both the Golfweek.com and Golfstat.com rankings, is currently tied for 44th as an individual for UAB after shooting an even-par 71. Senior Drew Jones shot a one-over-par 72 to tie for 66th for the Blazers.
"Three of our guys turned in solid scores, but we need help from our fourth man," said UAB Head Coach Alan Kaufman. "This course is very demanding as far as driving goes. If you want a chance at par or better you must put the ball in the fairway to even have a chance. Any shots in the rough will damage your score, so everyone really has to be on their game."
Illinois currently leads the tournament (-9 with players still on holes 11-14), Georgia Tech is second (-8 with players still on holes 15-18), Washington is third (-5 with players still on holes 14-17) and Colorado and North Carolina are tied for fourth to round out the top five. Colorado fired a four-under-par 280 and Carolina is also is four-under with players still on holes 12-14.
Brock Mackenzie of Washington and Ben Portie of Colorado are tied for the tournament's individual lead, as each player is currently five-under-par. Portie fired a 66 and Mackenzie has completed 14 holes.