May 20, 2010
By Mike Beas, Special to NCAA.com
NOBLESVILLE, Ind. – With 11 national championships, Florida Southern is in a league of its own when it comes to NCAA Division II men’s golf.
Chico (Calif.) State, by contrast, is still looking for its first view from the top since 1966.
But with Friday’s final championship round still to come, it was Chico State atop the field by one stroke in a tight battle for top team honors. The Wildcats led the 20-team national field with a three-day total of 898.
Florida Southern was second at 899 while defending champion Sonoma State (Rohnert Park, Calif.) was third (907). Central Missouri (909) and Western New Mexico (910) rounded out the top five..
Despite less-than-ideal conditions for a third straight day, Chico State posted the low team score of 5-over par 293 on Thursday at the Sagamore Golf Club, while Florida Southern’s Moccasins went 304 on the heels of Wednesday’s sizzling 292.
“We got off to a very rough start, but we battled. I was proud of that,” Chico State coach Doug Gordin said. “It’s tough out there and Chico State played exceptionally well. We hung in there and we’re only one shot back. If you would have told me we would be one shot back after three rounds, I would have said, `Great.’ “
Kyle Souza’s third-round 74 combined with earlier rounds of 74 and 70 has the Chico State sophomore second overall among individuals with a 2-over-par 218. He’s three strokes behind leader Cyril Bouniol of Abilene Christian (76-68-71-215).
On Thursday, Souza had plenty of help. Teammates Brandon Harkins shot even-par 72 with Eric Frazzetta close behind with a 73. And Lucas Delgado and Sylvester Gama carded a 74 and 76, respectively.
For Florida Southern, Matt Stauch’s 75 left him fifth overall with a 6-over 222. The Mocs’ low score on Thursday came courtesy of Danny Evelyn’s 73.
The day’s lone sub-70 score was provided by Brad Boyle of Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a 69. Bobby Bode of Nova Southeastern (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) now stands tied for third individually after a 70, a score matched by Matt Miller of Central Missouri.
After a team score of 313 the first day, Sonoma State continued to hang around like a pesky kid brother at nine shots off the pace. One player, No. 5 Alex Marry, missed second-round competition with a stomach virus, yet the Seawolves still came through clutch with a 291.
This time the 2009 champs were back at full-strength, led by Janssen Todd’s 74 and a 76 from Patrick Bauer.
Like Chico State, the Central Missouri played its finest golf so far on Thursday with a 294 total. Aside from Miller’s 70, coach Tim Poe’s club managed a 71 from Justin Yoder, a 75 from Jared King, Ryne Kloeppel’s 78 and Zack VanDolah’s 83.
First-round pacesetter Nova Southeastern, which turned heads with its 299 on Tuesday, followed that up with a 305 and Thursday’s 309 for the sixth spot in the team standings.
“I just think this course is so tough that if any part of your game is off, you get exposed immediately. You can’t have any weaknesses out there,” said Sharks coach Kevin Marsh. “Goal No. 1 (for Friday) is let’s play. The weather is supposed to be so bad that you don’t know what’s going to happen out there.”
Friday’s forecast calls for a 60-percent chance of rain with winds of up to 15-miles-per hour and the possibility of scattered thunderstorms.