TEMPE, Ariz. --- With freshman Lee McCoy leading the way, the 15th-ranked Georgia men's golf team improved its standing in the NCAA's Tempe Regional on Friday at the ASU Karsten Golf Course.
McCoy fired a 3-under 67 and the Bulldogs finished at 6-under 274 on Friday to improve to third place with a score of 6-under 554. Following Saturday's final round, the top five teams from the regional will advance to the NCAA Championships, which will be held May 28-June 2 at the Capital City Club's Crabapple Course in Alpharetta.
UCLA has the team lead at 19-under 541, followed by Central Florida at 8-under 552 and the Bulldogs at 6-under 554. Texas A&M is alone in fourth at 3-under 557, while Arizona and Duke are tied for fifth at 2-under 558 and North Carolina is lurking at 1-over 561.
"There's still a lot of golf left to be played," Georgia coach Chris Haack said. "We had a good day today, but it won't mean a thing if we don't close out well on Saturday. There are a lot of teams within striking distance of the top five. Our focus has to continue to be on good course management and making smart decisions."
McCoy's 67 pushed him to 5-under 135 for the tournament. He is in third place individually as Central Florida's Greg Eason holds the lead at 12-under 128. McCoy played the front nine even with three birdies and three bogeys, but he was 3-under on the back nine with an eagle (on the par-5 15th covering 527 yards), three birdies and two bogeys.
"Lee has been solid these first two days," Haack said. "Freshmen often don't play well on this stage because of what's at stake, but that hasn't been the case with him. He looks like a seasoned veteran out there."
Also on Friday, the Bulldogs counted a 2-under 68 from sophomore Nicholas Reach, a 1-under 69 from junior Keith Mitchell and an even-par 70 from junior Joey Garber. Senior T.J. Mitchell's 6-over 76 was Georgia's drop score. Garber moved to even-par 140, followed by Reach at 1-over 141, Keith Mitchell at 2-over 142 and T.J. Mitchell at 5-over 145.
The Bulldogs will tee off on Saturday at 11:25 a.m. with their counterparts from UCLA and Central Florida. Live results can be found at golfstat.com.