As if the demanding layout of the Honors Course at the NCAA Championships wasn’t enough, Georgia Southern also found itself battling the elements Wednesday.
Heavy rains and extensive lightning in the Chattanooga area delayed play for over two hours and left many golfers with part of their second round to complete this morning.
Scheduled with Louisiana State and Baylor in the final five pairings of the day, the Eagles were caught up in the storms, forced off the course having played just a handful of holes.
“That’s just golf for you,” said GSU coach Larry Mays. “We’ve all been through it before. All you can do is just wait it out and go about your round once you get back out there.”
Though delays are routine in golf, handling the down time can be more of a challenge.
Unlike many other sports where players compete against each other – unlike the fight against the course in golf – and players’ actions are influenced by the actions of an opponent, the struggle for a golfer takes place largely between his own two ears.
Even when forced back into the clubhouse, the temptation to stay focused on the task at hand remains.
“There’s nothing to do, so we just try to stay loose,” said Mays. “We talk about the round and how we want to approach some holes, but you can’t get too wound up in thinking about the next shot you have to make when play resumes.”
The changing weather also can have an effect on how teams will attack the course.
Georgia Southern has run into some bad luck – first playing a dew-soaked course during Tuesday’s early round and then having the rain show up Wednesday – but also sees opportunities in how to approach the final holes leading to Thursday’s cut down to the final eight teams.
“All of this rain should make the greens more receptive,” said Mays. “We’re going to try to be a little more aggressive out there. We’ve seen some of the scores that are being put up, so it will give us some confidence that the scores are out there to be had.”
Play resumed early in the evening, but darkness crept in before the round could be completed, leaving all five Eagles with a handful of holes to finish before beginning today’s third round.
GSU will have a large hole to dig out of if it wants to advance to match play on Friday, but a few extra holes can only help the cause.
“Resuming in the middle of a round in the morning is no big deal,” said Mays. “Everyone has done it before. We’ll just come out in the morning and be ready to play. Hopefully we’ll stay out of the rough and sink some putts that have been missing. It’s all about getting solid play from all five guys, and that’s what we’ll have to do.”
Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.