CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - The University of North Carolina men's golf team is tied for second at the Tar Heel Intercollegiate after two rounds on Saturday. The Tar Heels shot a 2-under-par 286 in the early morning round and a 1-over par 289 in the afternoon round to end up 1-under 575 for the tournament. Carolina is tied with Charlotte (-1) and trails rival Duke who shot a combined two-round score of 9-under 567.
Senior Michael McGowan, from Southern Pines, N.C., leads the Tar Heels with a combined two round score of 4-under-par 140, despite having dropped two double-bogeys in his first round. Tied with McGowan is teammate Patrick Barrett, a senior from Pinhurst, N.C., but Barrett is participating in the tournament as an individual. In fact, out of the top four scores for the Tar Heels, three came from members of the team participating as individuals for this tournament. Junior Andy Knox, from Cary, N.C., shot 3-under 141 for the day and is tied for fifth place while sophomore Reeves Zaytoun, from Raleigh, N.C., finished at even par 144 and a tie for 14th.
"I think we have got a very deep team," said North Carolina head coach Andrew Sapp. "The hardest part was selecting the starting five and that kind of showed because we've got three players that are playing as individuals that played tremendous."
Sophomore Brandon Dalinka, from Newtown, Pa., finished his round 1-over 145 in a tie for 19th place as he bogeyed his final hole of the day. Clark Palmer, a senior from Augusta, Ga., was consistent on the day shooting a 1-over-par 73 for each round ending up 2-over 146 which put him tied for 24th. Bailey Patrick, from Charlotte, N.C., had a fantastic first round score of 69 but struggled in the afternoon and shot a 78. He sits tied for 29th at 3-over 147. Junior Andy Sejevic, from Fremont Neb., ended at 6-over 150 tied for 47th for the day. Two more Tar Heels played as individuals for the tournament. Robert Register, a sophomore from Burlington, N.C., and Keagan Cummings, a freshman from Dublin, Ireland, shot a 153 (+9) and a 157 (+13) respectively.
"He's [McGowan] just matured," said Sapp. "In the past he'd get down on himself really easily if he had a bad hole. He even had a double bogey on the third hole today and still fought back. He double-bogeyed 18 in the morning and came back and shot 68 in the afternoon. He's just shown more patience and really controlled his emotions so he can just play his game."
"I think the team did well; we hung in there," coach Sapp said. "We had some rough patches in the afternoon, but Michael really helped us by shooting 68 in the second round. Bailey led the charge in the morning shooting 69 so we're set up well to play tomorrow and see if we can chase down Duke."
Duke leads the Carolina and Charlotte by eight strokes, a considerable lead in a team tournament. When asked about why his players performed so well, head coach of the Blue Devils Jamie Green said, "There's no magic dust. They got themselves in shape. The reality of a 36-hole day is a bit of a grind out there and legs are really feeling it by the end of the day. It obviously turns into some mental fatigue, so that was really what I was the most proud of. They got off to a really good start in the second round. Even though everybody hit a couple of bumps in the road they sort of righted the ships and got things in the barn. That's pretty tough on a 36-hole day."
Albin Choi from NC State had a scorching 6-under 66 first round a modest 71 second round to lead all players with a 7-under 137. There is a three-way tie for second between Patrick Barrett, Michael McGowan, and Rhys Pugh from East Tennessee State. All three players shot a 4-under-par 140.
Chad Cox, from NC State aced the par-3 211-yard, hole 12 during his morning round. Cox also eagled a par-5 but shot 154 for the day. Cox is playing as an individual so his score does not count toward the Wolfpack's team score.
Coach Sapp had a message for his players before heading into tomorrow's final round. "Really just to defend their home turf. I mean this is our home and we have to protect it and beat the other teams who have come here to visit us. They know this golf course better than anybody and they know how to play it. They just need to play their own game and not worry about what the other teams are doing because you can't play defense in golf. They just need to play their best and focus and be patient out there."
The final round of the Tar Heel Intercollegiate will be played Sunday at UNC Finley Golf Course in Chapel Hill. Tee times start at 7:40 in the morning and the Tar Heels begin at 9:10 am at the par 72, 6,285-yard course. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.