TEMPE, Ariz. — Sophomore Greg Yates carded seven birdies on Karsten Golf Course Friday as the No. 20 Texas A&M men’s golf team held onto fourth place on the leaderboard after 36 holes at the NCAA Tempe Regional.
“No one ever promised us it would be easy,” Texas A&M head coach J.T. Higgins said. “We are going to have to work for this and if we want it, we are going to have to go take it. I feel like we are playing really good golf but the scoring just hasn’t been there. I’m really anxious for tomorrow, I think with the way we are playing that we are close to putting a really good round together and if we can do that we’ll look back on this as a really great tournament.”
Following the conclusion of Saturday’s final round the top five teams in the standings will advance to the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship at Atlanta’s Capital City Crabapple Course on May 28-June 2.
Fourth-ranked UCLA (268-273=541, -19) leads the field, while UCF (280-272=552, -8), No. 16 Georgia (280-274=554, -6) and A&M (280-277=557, -3) round out the top leaderboard’s four spots. Tournament host Arizona State (284-274=558, -2) and No. 10 Duke (287-280=558, -2) are each just a shot behind the Aggies, sharing the fifth position on the leaderboard.
“Tomorrow, we want the same thing we want at every tournament and that’s to have the lowest final round,” Higgins added. “If we do that, everything else will take care of itself. We know how we need to go about approaching that to make it happen. We preach it all year that we want to be at our best in the final round of every tournament and if we do that tomorrow we’ll be going to Atlanta.”
North Carolina, New Mexico State, Austin Peay State, Arizona, Vanderbilt, Clemson, Kennesaw State and Lehigh trail consecutively in the team standings.
Yates (72-66=138, -2) turned in his lowest round of the season Friday by carding birdies on holes No. 2, 4, 7, 10, 12, 14 and 17 while only recording a pair of bogies. The Mansfield, Texas, native started the day in 42nd place but after his impressive round ascended into a tie for 13th.
“Greg made a lot of birdies today, seven in all,” Higgins said of Yates. “He did a really nice job of attacking whenever he had a wedge in his hand. He took advantage of his opportunities and there are plenty of them out here. He kept things together and I’m really proud of him for bringing that round in. We needed it today.”
Sophomore Ty Dunlap (73-69=142, +2) joined Yates in shooting under par on Friday, carding four birdies on the day to move into a tie for 32nd.
Junior Johannes Veerman (67-70=137, -3) remains the highest Aggies on the leaderboard in a tie for 11th place after posting an even-par second round.
UCF’s Greg Eason (65-63=128, -12) leads the individual field after firing a tournament-low round of 63 on Friday to move to 12-under par.
Saturday will see the tournament conclude with the third and final round teeing off at 9:30 a.m. (CT) Texas A&M will be in the first group to hit the No. 1 tee box, alongside Arizona State and Duke.
Live scoring is available at GolfStat.com.