Just as the rain fell at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, so did the championship hopes of some leading teams and individuals in the third round of the NCAA men's golf championship yesterday.
In the morning, the top 15 teams hit the course with Georgia holding a 9-shot advantage over then-second-place Tennessee. The Bulldogs weathered the storm, even extended their team lead to 11 shots by day's end over new second-place holder, Peach state-rival Georgia Tech.
In individual play, Pepperdine's Michael Putnam, a native of often-rainy Tacoma, Wash., remained the overall leader, preserving a one-shot lead over Major Manning of Augusta State despite a double bogey on No. 6. Georgia Tech sophomore Roberto Castro tied Manning for second with a 71, 1-over par.
The morning wind and rain took a toll on every aspect of Tennessee's game, causing the Vols to go 33-over as a team.
"I think we had one birdie the whole day," Vols coach Jim Kelson said. "In my 17 years of coaching, I've never seen anything like this."
Actually, his players posted four birdies, but a 31-bogey total left the coach with one final prayer to make the cut for today's final round: "Hope there's a hurricane," he said.
Mid-afternoon drizzle gave way to mist, though, and Tennessee finished tied for 12th with New Mexico, which posted the day's best team score, 11-under, and soared from 24th into today's title round.
While Arizona, Florida and Wake Forest got washed out of the competition, Kentucky and Georgia Southern found spots in today's final 15.
Leading their teams into the top 15, Aron Price of Georgia Southern and John Holmes of Kentucky made the best of bad conditions, tying for fourth place individually while jumping six and 17 positions, respectively. Holmes' 69 was the only sub-par effort of day.
Third round, par 70 Team leaders: 1. Georgia 274-284-297-855; 2. Georgia Tech 288-281-295-864; 3. Southern California, 290-282-303-875; 4. Nevada-Las Vegas 284-290-302-876; 5. (tie) Duke 288-286-303-877; Arizona State 291-285-301-877; Washington 289-285-303-877; Kentucky 291-292-294-877; Augusta (Ga.) State 286-289-302-877; 10. (tie) Georgia State 287-287-305-879; Brigham Young 285-290-304-879; 12. (tie) New Mexico 289-300-291-880; Tennessee 279-288-313-880; 14. Oklahoma State 292-289-301-882; 15. Georgia Southern 286-298-299-883. Individual leaders: 1. Michael Putnam (Pepperdine), 67-67-73-207; 2. (tie) Roberto Castro (Georgia Tech), 69-68-71-208; Major Manning (Augusta State), 65-70-73-208; 4. (tie) John Holmes (Kentucky), 70-72-69-211; Aron Price (Georgia Southern), 66-73-72-211; 6. (tie) Taylor Wood (USC), 72-68-72-212; Joshua Wooding (USC), 71-67-73-212; 8. (tie) Shawn Jasper (Missouri), 72-66-75-213 ; Oscar Alvarez (BYU), 67-71-75-213; James Lepp (Washington), 70-67-76-213; Brendon Todd (Georgia), 68-70-75-213; Ross McGowan (Tennessee), 67-71-75-213.