Despite a rough final three holes Tuesday at the University of Georgia Golf Course, the Nevada men's golf team is in good position heading into the final 18 holes at the NCAA Athens Regional.
The Wolf Pack shot a team score of 289 (5 over par) to move up three spots into a tie for fifth in the 13-team event. Nevada was even through the first 15 holes Tuesday before shooting 5 over on the final three. But a strong third round would put the Wolf Pack into nationals for the first time in more than a decade. The top five teams from each regional advance to NCAA Championships, hosted by the University of Arkansas from May 24-29.
Bishop Manogue graduate Stephen Osborne, a junior, paced the Wolf Pack. He fired a 3-under 68 on Tuesday and is tied for third in the field at 3 under following an even-par 71 in the first round. He's one stroke back of the co-leaders. Osborne had seven birdies and three bogeys Tuesday. Also scoring for Nevada in the second round were Sam Harned (2 over), Joey Vrzich (3 over) and Tony Gil (3 over). Harned and Gil are tied for 34th in the field at 6 over.
The Wolf Pack shot a 12-over 296 in Monday's first round but the course played slightly easier Tuesday. Nevada is at 17 over after two rounds and one of four teams tied for that fifth and final spot for nationals. No 16-ranked Georgia leads the field at 4 under. No. 9 Duke is second at 3 under. No. 4 Vanderbilt is third at 2 over. Barring a final-round collapse, those three schools should make it to nationals. The field behind them is stacked up with only three strokes separating team Nos. 4-8 and six strokes separating team Nos. 4-10. Only two of those seven teams will move to nationals.
Tied with Nevada in fifth is SMU, which has a local in Ollie Osborne, the younger brother of Nevada's Stephen Osborne. Ollie, a freshman and Bishop Manogue graduate, shot 2 over Tuesday and is 7 over in the event (tied for 40th).
Nevada has made nationals four times in its history, last in 2006 when it finished 28th in the nation. The Wolf Pack's best national finish was 25th in 1989.
1. Georgia, -4
2. Duke, -3
3. Vanderbilt, +2
4. Liberty, +14
5t. Nevada, +17
5t. SMU, +17
5t. Tennessee, +17
5t. Memphis, +17
9. Campbell, +19
10. Kentucky, +20
11. Alabama, +28
12. UNCW, +35
13. Princeton, +48
T3. Stephen Osborne – 71-68=139 (-3)
T34. Tony Gil, 74-74=148 (+6)
T34. Sam Harned, 75-73=148 (+6)
T47. Joey Vrzich, 76-74=150 (+8)
73. Sam Meek, 80-80=160 (+18)