May 19, 2000
MOOSIC, Pa. - For one Terrapin golfer, the rain delays and weather-related hazards may have taken their toll. For the other Maryland linkster, senior Keith Unikel (Potomac, Md.), a third and final round of 18 holes on Saturday just may be enough to qualify for play in next week's NCAA Championships at Grand National Golf Course in Opelika, Ala.
Unikel, who turned in the same scorecard of 76 with senior teammate Gary Mankulish (Laurel, Md.) after a frustrating first round, rebounded in an immediate second round on Friday morning with an impressive 73 on the rain-soaked and wind-blown par 71 course at Glenmaura National Golf Course. Mankulish, though, succumbed to the obstacles and struggled to a second round score of 84.
Both Terps were left on the course on Thursday evening and instructed with 64 other golfers to complete their opening round at 6:45 a.m. Immediately thereafter, Unikel and Mankulish were among the first golfers off the tee to begin the second round of play. By early Friday afternoon, the duo had endured rain and delays for a second day, had completed 36 holes, and could only wait for remaining golfers to finish the course.
Through it all, Unikel has kept pace despite a disappointing back nine score of 40 in his first nine holes on Thursday.
After two rounds, Unikel (76-73--149, +7) remains in contention to qualify for one of two spots in the NCAA Championships afforded to low-scoring individuals whose teams don't qualify as one of the top 11 in the East Regional. Unikel and Mankulish (76-84--160, +18) embark on their final round on Saturday.
After finishing with 76 in the first round, Unikel mastered the 6,847-yard course a second time on Friday with a 39 on the front and a 34 on the back to card a 73 and finish 7-over par after two rounds. Unikel's back nine score of 34 on Friday matched the tournament low on the stretch between the 10th and 18th holes, matching the scores of only Matt Borchert of North Florida and John Bloomfield of South Carolina --- first and 12th overall after the first round of play.
Tournament officials feared at mid-day that the tournament's second round would be incomplete at day's end also, and would be made official on Saturday morning. Team and individual standings will not be available until that time.