Junior Clay Ogden and the Cougars are underway at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate in Birmingham, Ala. Odgen shot a team-low 70 (-1) in the first of two rounds on Monday. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
BIRMINGHAM -- The No. 14 BYU men's golf team resumed tournament play after a two-week break Monday at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate in Birmingham, Ala., going head to head with some of the top talent in the country.
After a mistake-laden first round, the Cougars bounced back to end the day in seventh place in the 12-team field after posting a 5-under-par 279, the third-lowest team total of the second round. BYU is facing the two top teams in the country, defending national champion Georgia and Georgia Tech, as well as six other teams that have been ranked in the Top 25 this season.
"We had a few hiccups today, but we started to overcome them," BYU head coach Bruce Brockbank said. "We made some silly mistakes that this team shouldn't make."
The Cougars shook off their opening-round woes to cut 11 strokes from the team score and jump four spots on the leader board, but Brockbank said he and his team are frustrated with the way they handled a few holes.
The major culprit of the first-round troubles was the par-3 No. 8, BYU's second-to-last hole. As a team, the Cougars shot 11-over-par on the treacherous hole alone, something Brockbank said he didn't expect and didn't prepare for.
"It was almost like a plague the way we kept hitting the ball into the hazard on that hole," he said. "It's just one of those things that might happen to one guy, but it isn't likely that it will happen to a whole team."
Thanks largely to junior Jake Ellison's 5-under 66, tied for lowest individual total of the second round, BYU was able to make its day-one showing more respectable and move closer to contention for the title. Ellison is tied for ninth place at 2-under 140 after he birdied four of the last five holes in Round 2.
Senior Oscar Alvarez struggled early, shooting a 78 (+7) in the first round. He managed to go under par the following round with a 70 (-1), bringing him to 6-over for the tournament. Juniors Nick Becker and Clay Ogden also posted 1-under rounds, with Becker's coming in the second and Ogden opening his day with one.
Georgia Tech sits atop the standings with an 11-stroke lead over Georgia, but only nine strokes separate the following six contenders.
"If we shoot a respectable score tomorrow, we may have a pretty decent finish," Brockbank said. "It will be interesting to see how we handle everything. We need to find a way to not make so many mistakes."
BYU will tee off Tuesday at 8:50 a.m. for the third and final round.
Results after Two Rounds
Fin. School Score
1 Georgia Tech 274-278--552
T2 Georgia 285-276--561
T2 UAB 279-282--561
4 Alabama 277-288--565
5 Clemson 280-287--567
6 Auburn 281-287--568
7 BYU 290-279--569
8 Augusta State 274-296--570
9 Tulsa 289-285--574
10 Arizona 291-287--578
11 TCU 290-291--581
12 Vanderbilt 289-293--582
BYU Individual Results
Fin. Golfer Score
T9 Jake Ellison 74-66--140
T16 Nick Becker 72-70--142
T23 Clay Ogden 70-73--143
T48 Oscar Alvarez 78-70--148
T48 Daniel Summerhays 74-74--148