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Men's Golf Headline

For the second time on the Ohio State course, junior Ari Savolainen leads the Gators at the NCAA's.

Wednesday May 29, 2002NCAA Men's Golf Round One Suspended

Columbus, Ohio

For the second time on the Ohio State course, junior Ari Savolainen leads the Gators at the NCAA's.

The first round of the 2002 NCAA Men's Golf Championship was suspended at 4:26 p.m. (EST) Wednesday when heavy rains forced the afternoon wave of 15 teams off The Ohio State University Scarlet Course. The No. 4 University of Florida Gators finished play in the morning group shooting 1-under 283.

Half the field completed play. The morning wave of 15 teams finished on schedule despite a brief period of morning rain. The Gators had the third-lowest score of the tough morning group. Arizona and Colorado were the only teams to bet UF in the early group.

Colorado shot a 4-under par team score of 280 to lead the tournament following the completion of the morning wave. Florida is tied for seventh with four of the top six teams waiting to finish round one.

Three of the Gators are in the top-21 players with junior transfer Ari Savolainen (Helsinki, Finland). Savolainen tallied four birdies en route to 2-under 69. He set the course record at the Preview back in September when he shot a second-round 66-his first ever collegiate tournament.

The Colombian Camilo pair are in the pack tied at 21st. Senior Camilo Benedetti (Medellin, Colombia) carded four bogeys and four birdies for 1-under 71 while sophomore Camilo Villegas (Medellin, Colombia) had two birdies and just one bogey.

"I have played here and coached here on different occasions and this is the easiest that this course has ever played," head coach Buddy Alexander said. "Because of the rain the fairways and greens are sticking, which make the conditions perfect for scoring.

"I don't think that we shot ourselves out of the tournament. We may be six, seven or eight strokes back after today but I don't think we will need to go home. The key for us was getting Ari back in the loop. It is nice having him back in the fight and his confidence is really growing. We are going to get a full week out of him."

At last year's championships, the Gators claimed the fourth national title in school history after opening the tournament in 13th, 16 shots from the lead. They ended up scoring a school record 1126, 18 strokes over runner-up Clemson, the third largest margin of victory since the tournament went to four-round play.

The University of Illinois was leading the event when play was suspended in the afternoon at 9-under par. Georgia Tech is second at 8-under. Illinois completed 10 holes and Georgia Tech completed 13 holes.

Ben Portie, a senior from Colorado, is the leader in the clubhouse with a 5-under 66. Sophomore Brock Mackenzie of Washington was 5-under through 14 holes when play was suspended.

Donnie Wagner, NCAA liaison for the men's golf championship, said the condition of the course prompted the end of first round play.

"The bunkers are under water right now which causes a problem," Wagner said. "We're going to start tomorrow morning. We're not sure when, though. The committee will discuss tonight how tomorrow will run."

NCAA Championships

May 29, 2002

Ohio State Scarlet

(Par 71 - 7,141 yards)

Team Standings

pl. team scores

1 Illinois 171 -9

2 Georgia Tech 245 -8

3 Washington 227 -5

T4 Colorado 280 -4 Finished

T4 North Carolina 181 -4

6 Arizona 282 -2 Finished

T7 Florida 283 -1 Finished

T7 Minnesota 184 -1

T7 N.C. State 131 -1

T7 Pepperdine 135 -1

T7 TCU 283 -1 Finished

T7 Toledo 283 -1 Finished

T7 Tulsa 179 -1

Florida Scores

T7 Ari Savolainen 69 -2

T21 Camilo Benedetti 70 -1

T21 Camilo Villegas 70 -1

T110 Jordan Code 74 +3

T133 Dalton Melnyk 75 +4

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