UPDATED: Smart's Record Setting Round Moves UVa to 11th at NCAAs
Note: This story has been updated following the conclusion of the second round Wednesday morning.
Ooltewah, Tenn. – Behind the stellar play of sophomore Henry Smart, the 19th-ranked Virginia men’s golf team made a major move up the leaderboard during the second round of the NCAA Championships at The Honors Course in Ooltewah, Tenn.
Smart tied the competitive round course record by shooting 6-under 66 to help UVa climb 14 spots on the leaderboard into a three-way tie for 11th place with UCLA and Stanford.
The Cavaliers were unable to complete the second round Wednesday due to darkness and wrapped up play early Thursday morning when Ben Kohles and Will Collins returned to the course to finish their play on the 17th and 18 holes. The Cavaliers final second round tally was 8-under 280 for a 36-hole total of 580. Virginia shot 12-over 300 and was in 25th place after the opening round.
Virginia’s strong move has the Cavaliers within reach of making it to the match play portion of the tournament. Following the third round, the top eight teams in the 30-team field will advance to head-to-head match play to decide the NCAA Champion. The individual national champion will be determined following the 54 holes of stroke play.
Florida State, which shot a team course record 9-under 279 during the second round, stands alone in first place at 14-under 562. Oklahoma State is second at 567. Clemson and Washington are tied for seventh place at 577, just three strokes ahead of Virginia.
Due to the extension of the second round into Thursday morning, the start of the third round was moved back two hours. The Cavaliers are scheduled to tee off at 2 p.m. while paired with Arizona State and Stanford.
Smart’s round was the second 66 carded on The Honors Course during the day. San Diego’s Alex Ching, who leads the tournament at 9-under 135, also shot 6-under during the second round. The Honors Course competitive round record was previously set by two golfers (Michael Sim and Ryan Blaum) at the 2004 Southern Amateur.
Smart and Ching’s scores are the best collegiate scores posted on the course, bettering the 67 Tiger Woods carded at the 1996 NCAA Championships.
Following the two-hour rain delay, Smart, who started his round with a bogey caught fire. He reeled of five consecutive birdies between the seventh and 11th holes. He added another birdie on the par-3 14th hole and punched in a 10-foot par putt on the 18th hole in near darkness to wrap up his round as his father, Robert, who had flown from England to watch his son play, looked on.
Smart shot 10-over 82 during the first round of the tournament.
“I bogied my first hole from 130 yards and apparently I was moping and (assistant) coach (Jay) Fisher came up to me and said, ‘If you play bad, you play bad. Just do your best,'” Smart said. “I got it going a little bit and was even when the (two hour) rain delay came.
“On the eighth hole I hit an awful shot and it hit a rock and came to within eight feet of the cup. That’s when I knew it was going to be a decent round. I just kept it going and managed to hole a couple of clutch putts after a few bad drives.”
Smart was not the only Cavalier to have a strong round.
Senior Kyle Stough, celebrating his 22nd birthday, finished at 3-under 69 while Collins used a pair of eagles to shoot 2-under 70. Kohles finished at 3-over 75 and Amory Davis shot 79. At one point during the round, the Cavaliers stood at 11-under par.
Stough leads the UVa contingent on the leaderboard in 20th place at 1-under 143. Collins is in 33rd place at 144 and Kohles is 67th at 147. Smart moved up to 83rd overall at 148 and Davis is 151st at 159.
“It was a great day,” said coach Bowen Sargent. “I challenged the guys this morning that if they wanted to get to match play they would have to play great and they responded. We’ve still got some work to do, but at least now we are in a position to compete for one of those eight spots.”
Virginia is playing in the NCAA Championships for the third consecutive year, the first time in the program’s history the Cavaliers have managed three straight trips to nationals. Virginia was 26th at the 2008 NCAAs and placed 27th last year.
The Cavaliers best finish at the NCAA Championships was 11th in 1946. Under the current format, that includes a 30-team field, UVa’s best showing was 16th in 1992.
Live scoring of the tournament is online at Golfstat.com. There is also a live video feed of holes 16 through 18 on the Golfstat website.
The Honors Course
Par 72, 7,395 yards
1. Florida State 283-279-562
2. Oklahoma State 283-284-567
3. Georgia Tech 290-282-572
4. Augusta State 287-288-575
5. Florida 287-289-576
5. San Diego 294-282-576
7. Washington 289-288-577
7. Clemson 286-291-577
9. Oregon 284-294-578
9. Arizona State 286-292-578
11. Stanford 292-288-580
11. UCLA 294-286-580
11. Virginia 300-280-580
14. USC 295-290-585
14. Kent State 292-293-585
14. North Florida 292-293-585
17. Texas 290-296-586
17. UNLV 294-292-586
19. California 293-294-587
19. Texas Tech 302-285-587
21. Oregon State 295-293-588
22. Baylor 294-295-589
22. Tennessee 297-292-589
22. Texas A&M 285-304-589
22. Illinois 304-285-589
26. Duke 296-297-593
26. LSU 303-290-593
28. Georgia Southern 297-299-596
29. TCU 302-296-598
30. Penn State 301-298-599
1. Alex Ching, San Diego 69-66-135
2. Henrik Norlander, Augusta State 68-69-137
2. Peter Uihlein, Oklahoma State 69-68-137
4. Scott Langley, Illinois 70-68-138
5. Paul Haley, Georgia Tech 70-69-139
5. Sealth Lauer, Florida State 69-70-139
7. Morgan Hoffmann, Oklahoma State 70-70-140
7. Drew Kittleson, Florida State 70-70-140
7. Gregor Main, UCLA 71-69-140
7. Pontus Widegren, UCLA 69-71-140
20. Kyle Stough 74-69-143
33. Will Collins 74-70-144
67. Ben Kohles 72-75-147
83. Henry Smart 82-66-148
151. Amory Davis 80-79-159