Georgia Southern battled gusting winds throughout the afternoon at the Schenkel Invitational at Forest Heights Country Club. At the end of the day, the Eagles recorded an 8-over par score of 296, bringing their total score to 17-over for the tournament and placing them 11th in the 15-team field.
Defending Schenkel champion Alabama leads the field at 13-under while 2012 national champion Texas sits in second place at 11-under. The Crimson Tide and Longhorns are the only teams in the field that are under par for the tournament.
In Friday’s first round, the back nine proved to be the Eagles’ biggest hurdle. Georgia Southern began Saturday’s round on No. 10 — one of the trickiest holes on the course — and immediately found more trouble. Just two of the Eagles’ five-man team managed pars, with a double bogey from Charlie Martin and a triple bogey from Blake Olson marring the start of the round.
“It was sort of the same as yesterday,” GSU coach Larry Mays said. “Kind of a two steps forward and one step back thing. We had some good holes and some good shots throughout the day, but you just can’t be making those doubles and triples.”
Despite the troublesome holes and windy conditions, the Eagles still managed to improve in their second round.
Haydon Anderson provided the biggest highlight of the day. Anderson found the green of the par-5 18th hole in just two shots, then buried an eagle to finish the back nine at even par. Two bogeys and two birdies on the front nine left Anderson with an even par 72 on the day.
Scott Wolfes anchored the Eagles and once again finished the day on a high point. Wolfes birdied the 7th before seeing an eagle put on No. 9 lip out, bringing roars — and then moans — from the large crowd gathered around the green.
Wolfes tapped in his birdie putt to finish at even par for the day and 2-under for the tournament.
“We definitely had some opportunities,” Mays said. “We just haven’t been able to string enough good holes together.”
Now sitting 30 shots behind Alabama, the tournament is out of reach for the Eagles.
Still, Georgia Southern is setting its sights on a strong finish against the talented field.
“It’s always a lot of pressure wanting to do well on your home course,” Mays said. “Hopefully we can loosen up a little in the final round.
“Alabama and Texas are kind of pulling away, but we’re playing against every team in the field. We want to finish ahead of as many teams as possible so we just need to finish strong and play as well as we can.”
The Eagles will once again go off of the 10th tee to begin their rounds as they play today’s final round alongside UAB and Virginia. Olsen will get things started for GSU at 9:42 a.m., with Will Evans, Martin, Anderson and Wolfes following.
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.