June 1, 2010

Bucky Dent
Special to NCAA.com

OOLTEWAH, Tenn. -- When the alarm clocks said 5 a.m., it felt like 2 a.m.

So it went for the University of San Diego Tuesday at the 2010 Division I Men's Golf Championships about 10 miles northeast of Chattanooga.

Vehicle headlights were still necessary when the Toreros arrived at The Honors Course in advance of their 7 a.m. tee time, or 4 a.m. on Pacific Standard Time.

"I was joking with one of the parents that when we get off the course, their cell phones are going to start ringing because their alarms will be waking them up," cracked USD coach Tim Mickelson.

Alex Ching got the early wakeup call. His 3-under par 69 placed him in a 10-way tie for second, one shot behind Arizona State's Jesper Kennegard and Augusta State's Henrik Norlander.

But Mickelson, the younger brother of PGA Tour star Phil Mickelson, didn't get the result for which he was hoping. The Toreros ran into trouble on the 7,395-yard layout, taking three double bogeys and a triple bogey en route to a 6-over par 294.

Going into Wednesday's second round, they are tied for 16th with Baylor, UCLA and UNLV. USD must do some serious work to have a chance at reaching Friday's match play quarterfinals. Florida State and Oklahoma State are tied for first with 283 strokes.

"Score-wise, we could have been a little bit better," Tim Mickelson said. "We did what we needed to do and gave ourselves a decent round so if we play well tomorrow, we're right in the hunt."

USD arrived Saturday afternoon in an attempt to acclimate to the three-hour time difference, as well as the heat and humidity it rarely experiences at home.

Mickelson arranged bowling and movie outings Saturday and Sunday nights so that his team would be tired enough to rest before its pre-dawn wakeup call Tuesday.

"It's tough to keep them on the schedule they're used to," he said, "but hopefully, we're around for Friday or Saturday and by then we'll be very well adjusted."

Home, Not So Sweet Home: Tennessee was hoping to tap into a little home-course advantage in the first round, but couldn't make a move despite what appeared to an advantageous early tee time.

Forced to count a 78 by freshman Jay Vandeventer and deriving no low scores to counter it, the Volunteers shot 9-over 297 and are tied for 24th with Georgia Southern.

Coach Jim Kelson felt that his lineup was ideally suited for the course's length, saying that his team generally drove long and straight.

But UT could shave just a stroke on the four par 5s and had to count four double bogeys, putting it in a very difficult position going into Wednesday's second round.

"We played OK," Kelson said. "We were close, but too many double bogeys."

Only David Holmes managed to match par, swapping a birdie and bogey on the first two holes and then carding 16 straight pars.

Aggies Open Title Defense: Texas A&M began defense of last year's national title with a 3-under par 285, putting it in 4th. At one point, the Aggies were 3-over par before steadying.

They're in better shape entering the second round than last year, when they trailed by 10 shots, and were tied for 12th before storming back with a 276 in the second round that carried them into a tie for seventh going into match play.

Once there, A&M polished off second-seeded Arizona State and sixth-seeded Michigan before dumping No. 3 Arkansas 3-2 in the championship match.

Where Eagles Fly: Five players carded eagles in the first round, with Baylor's Ryan O'Rear registering his on the 410-yard par-4 13th with a gap wedge from 125 yards.

O'Rear's moment of brilliance helped him finish at 3-under 69, just a shot out of the lead. Augusta State's Jesper Kennegard and Henrik Norlander were among the others to eagle.

Two eagles came on the par-5 second hole, which was the easiest hole on the course with a stroke average of 4.83.