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Sharkey fights heat; GSU in 10th
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Georgia Southern's Thomas Sharkey tees off on 3 during the second round of the Schenkel Invitational at Forest Heights Country Club Saturday. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

    You might say Thomas Sharkey is a fish out of water.
    Georgia Southern’s redshirt freshman is used to fairly consistent weather back home in Helensburgh, Scotland — chilly and windy.
    The 90-plus degree temperatures Saturday at Forest Heights Country Club during the second round of the 2011 Schenkel Invitational Saturday didn’t stop him from leading the Eagles with a 3-under 69 as GSU remained in 10th place heading into the final round.
    Obviously, Sharkey can deal with the heat, but he’s certainly not used to it.
    “At home our summers, maybe on the best days, it would touch 70 degrees. Apart from that it’s cold and windy,” said Sharkey, who is tied for 15th individually with a two-round, 2-under 140. “You come here, and you’re humid all day long. The guys born and bred in America, they love it. It’s kind of tough for me to get used to.”
    Even with the team low, Sharkey feels like he left some opportunities on the greens, missing birdie putts on 10 and 17 after GSU began the day on the back nine.
    “They were both inside eight feet, so really it could have been 30 going into the turn,” he said. “Still, 32 is a good number. It was a tough nine. I thought I had a chance at a good score, but after a birdie on three I didn’t make much. But a 69’s a good score. I’ll take it.”
    Two other Eagles came in under par on the day. Florian Sander and Matt Deal both went 1-under 71 on the day. Logan Blondell also improved after a day-one, 6-over 78, finishing with a plus-2 to round out the team’s scoring.
    “We need four good scores if we want to challenge in this tournament,” Sharkey said.
    Playing as an individual, GSU’s Drew Guffey finished the day with a bang, holing an eagle on nine to shoot 5-under for the round. He currently stands tied for seventh in the individual standings, six strokes behind leader Bank Vongvanij of Florida.
    “The lineup will look a bit different probably with different guys playing some good golf,” said GSU coach Larry Mays about the upcoming tournaments.
    The UF Gators are in second place as a team, six strokes behind Auburn, which shot 13-under on the day for a two-day score of 22-under 554.
    “I think the whole field played a little better, but we did our job and played well. We shot three under, so that was a good step in the right direction,” Mays said. “We’re not going to keep up with the top teams this week, but we took a good step looking towards conference.”
    The Schenkel concludes today, and with the possibility of colder weather, wind and the chance of rain, the course will play a bit differently.
    “If you can go out there and keep it around par, it might be a good day to move up the leaderboard,” said Mays. “The pins are going to be tougher, Sunday pin placement, and the wind really does swirl through these pine trees.”
    Sharkey should feel right at home.
    “His cheeks get a little red when it’s hot,” Mays said, “so I’m sure he won’t mind if it cools off 20 degrees.”

    Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9408.


1. Auburn    -22
2. Florida    -16
3. LSU    -12
4. Virginia    -11
5. N.C. State    -6
6. North Florida    -3
T7. Tennessee    +2
T7. Notre Dame    +2
9. Minnesota    +5
10. Georgia Southern    +6
11. North Carolina    +8
12. Vanderbilt    +13
13. Mississippi    +20
14. Kentucky    +22
15. Mississippi State    +29
1. Bank Vonvanij, UF    -10
2. Niclas Carlsson, AU    -8
3. Blane Barber, AU    -6
T4. Phillip Choi, UF    -5
T4. Ben Kohles, UVA    -5
T4. Austin Gutgsell, LSU    -5
Georgia Southern
T7. Drew Guffey*    -4
T15. Thomas Sharkey    -2
T22. Florian Sander    -1
T32. Matt Deal    +1
T62. Hayden Anderson*    +7
T67. Logan Blondell    +8
T67. Lewis Gruber*    +8
T80. Jake Ware    +12
*Playing as individual