Led by senior Rick Lamb’s 3-under par 67, Tennessee bounced back on Wednesday to shoot a 3-under par 277 and move up the standings at the NCAA Championship.
The Vols finished the second round at the Capital City Club Crabapple Course in Atlanta, Ga., in a tie for 11th place and have a two-day total of 3-over 563. Thursday’s third round should be entertaining with the top eight teams making the championship cut. Those eight teams will advance to match play to determine the NCAA Champion.
Tennessee’s improvement by nine strokes over its first-round score moved the Vols within three strokes of eighth-place Texas A&M.
“Rick and I played well today to put the Vols back in contention. If we have another round tomorrow like we had today, we have a good chance of making the match play,” UT freshman Oliver Goss said. “I believe in the guys. We are a group of fighters and we will do anything we can to do so.”
Lamb’s consistent play has been a big reason for the Vols’ comeback. Lamb got off to a hot start with three birdies in his first five holes.
“That pin was in a pretty accessible spot today, more so than yesterday. We figured we could attack it pretty easy. I had a gap wedge in my hands and it was pretty much a green light, so I hit it about four or five feet and then putt,” Lamb said. “It definitely helps (my confidence) a lot. It gets rid of those first-tee jitters. I did the same thing yesterday. I birdied the first hole and got into a good groove and feeling good.”
After two rounds of play, Lamb sits two strokes behind individual leader Jon Rahm. On Tuesday, Arizona State’s Rahm set a single round course record of 61. Lamb currently is tied for fourth with a two day total of five-under 135. The numbers are Lamb’s best since he won back-to-back tournaments in November.
Goss, a PING All-Region honoree, had five birdies and finished with a four-under 66. Overall, Goss moved from 49th place to a tie for 16th at 3-under 137.
“Going in today, I wanted to play so well so badly and for the first couple of holes I was trying too hard and made some mistakes early,” Goss said. “Then, I calmed down and played my own game and ended up shooting a good score.”
Lamb and Goss were not the only Vols to play well on Wednesday. Senior Jay Vandeventer shot a 71, freshman Michael Nagy shot a 73 and junior Brandon Rodgers finished with a 74.
Host Georgia Tech leads at 12-under 548. The Yellow Jackets have shot indentical scores of 274 and have a one-stroke lead over top-seed California.