A players-only meeting Wednesday morning might have provided the spark that has the University of Georgia rolling along in pursuit of its second NCAA men's Division I golf championship.
The Bulldogs, the 1999 winners, have a nine-stroke lead after fashioning a 36-hole total of 558 at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills.
Individually, Pepperdine senior Michael Putnam, who celebrated his 22nd birthday Wednesday, scored his second successive 67 yesterday. His 6-under-par 134 put him one shot ahead of first-round co-leader Major Manning of Augusta (Ga.) State, who shot 70 yesterday.
Fourteen players finished the two rounds under par. Missouri sophomore Shawn Jasper had the low second round, 66, after he birdied four of the first five holes and got to 6-under-par through 13 before bogeying Nos. 14 and 16. He stood at 138 with five others.
Georgia coach Chris Haack said junior Kevin Kisner got the team together, but he didn't know what they had talked about.
"They seemed pretty focused, though, and whatever it was, I like the formula," Haack said.
Kisner simply said it was to get the team together and concentrate on the event.
"Everybody listened, and we came out pretty excited," he said.
The Bulldogs, who opened a five-stroke lead Wednesday, expanded it yesterday even though slipping a bit with a 4-over-par total of 284.
On a generally overcast, breezy and cool day, the Bulldogs were 10 shots higher but stretched their lead from five to nine over Tennessee, which shot 288 yesterday for a two-round total of 567. Georgia Tech (281 yesterday) moved into third with a 569 two-round total, and Southern California (282 yesterday) gained fourth with 572.
Pepperdine's Putnam, a golf and academic All-American, birdied the first two holes, eagled the 545-yard, par-5 seventh, then ran off 10 straight pars before bogeying the final hole.
"The only bad shot I hit was on the last hole," he said. "My mind-set was not to make a bogey."
Second round, par 70
Georgia 274-284-558; Tennessee 279-288-567; Georgia Tech 288-281-569; Southern California, 290-282-572; Nevada-Las Vegas 284-290-574; Duke 288-286-574; Georgia State 287-287-574; Washington 289-285-574; Augusta (Ga.) State 286-289-575; Brigham Young 285-290-575; Arizona State 291-285-576; Arizona 282-296-578; Florida 289-291-580; Wake Forest 287-293-580; Oklahoma State 292-289-581.
Michael Putnam, Pepperdine 67-67-134; Major Manning, Augusta State, 65-70-135; Roberto Castro, Georgia Tech 69-68-137; James Lepp, Washington, 70-67-137; Oscar Alvarez, BYU, 67-71-138; Shawn Jasper, Missouri, 72-66-138; Ross McGowan, Tennessee, 67-71-138; Michael Schachner, Duke, 70-68-138; Brendon Todd, Georgia, 68-70-138; Joshua Wooding USC, 71-67-138; Kevin Kisner, Georgia 65-74-139; Zack Miller, Stanford, 70-69-139; Alex Noren 70-69-139; Aron Price, Georgia Southern, 66-73-139.