Alabama Men's Golf Has Good First Day

COLUMBUS, OHIO – Mark Harrell shot 1-under par, 70, to help the University of Alabama men's golf team place itself on solid footing in the opening round of the 2008 NCAA Central Regional. Alabama is in second place at 8-over par, two shots behind Wake Forest, at the regional hosted by Ohio State University at its Scarlet Course in Columbus, Ohio.

The No. 1 ranked Crimson Tide is one of 27 teams vying for one of the 10 spots that will advance from the May 15-17 regional into the NCAA finals which are May 28-31 in West Lafayette, Ind.

Alabama opened play Thursday by shooting 292 which is 8-over par on the par 71 course. Wake Forest shot 6-over par, 290, to lead the field after the first 18 holes. At third is Oklahoma State, 293, followed by Florida, 294, Eastern Michigan, 297, Texas A&M University, Illinois and Michigan in a three-way tie for sixth at 299, and, tied at ninth Lamar and Ohio State who both shot 299. At 11th and below the cut line were Indiana, 300, Louisville, Tennessee and Colorado, all at 301, Eastern Kentucky, Colorado, TCU, Kent State and Wichita State, all at 302, Arkansas and Penn State tied at 19th at 34, tied at 21st Georgia Tech and Baylor, 307, Texas-Arlington, 308, Cleveland State, 313, Marquette, 314, Sacred Heart, 316, and Loyola College, 318.

Brendan Gielow of Wake Forest is the first round leader on the player leaderboard. He shot 2-under, 69 and has a one-shot lead ahead of five golfers, including Harrell, a senior at Alabama. The Hazlehurst, Ga., native opened with 70 to be among that five-way tie for second. A shot back and at even par among a four-way tie for 7th is Alabama's Matthew Swan. The Montgomery native shot 71. Matt Hughes opened with a 73 and is 2-over par and T-17th. Tied at 87th at 7-over par is Michael Thompson who shot 78, and T-106th is Joseph Sykora, who shot 8-over, 79, for Alabama.

"I think we're off to a good start on the opening day," said Alabama head golf coach Jay Seawell. "We didn't finish very well, but other than that we played alright. It's a hard golf course. Mark played well. I'm really proud of Mark. He played really solid all day long. He birdied the first hole and just played solid all day. We have an early start tomorrow starting out at 7 a.m. We need to get off on good start in the back nine which is where we'll start. And we need to have all five guys into the game. Our goal is to win. We need to shoot a low round and put some distance between the field and help ourselves out."

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