May 21, 2009

Courtesy of Western Washington Athletics

BLAINE, Wash. - Gene Webster of Cal State University San Bernardino and Steve Cuzzort of Wayne State, Mich., each used strong finishes Wednesday to finish tied for the lead at 1-under par 141 through two rounds of the NCAA Division II National Men's Golf Championships being held at the Loomis Trail Golf Club.

Barry, which shared the team lead with Sonoma State after the first round and won the national title in 2007, is now in sole possession of the lead at 15-over par 583 after posting a 6-over 290 Wednesday. Cal State San Bernardino is a shot back after having the best team score of the second round at 2-over 286.

Sonoma State is tied for third with Columbus State in the 20-team field at 21-over 589.

Webster, who is competing in his third NCAA II national tournament, held a one-shot lead after Tuesday's opening round. He maintained the top spot after a wild even-par round that had seven birdies, five bogeys and a double bogey. Teeing off from the tenth hole, he had three birdies in the first three holes to move to four under, but played the next five holes in 5-over. He eventually closed with consecutive birdies to take the lead in the clubhouse.

Cuzzort, a senior transfer from Michigan State where he played in the NCAA Division I National Tournament in 2007, is part of a Wayne State team making its first NCAA II national appearance. Playing the front nine last and in the final group of the day, he birdied three of the last five holes to finish the day with a 1-under 70, starting the run with a 20-foot birdie putt at No.5 and capping it with a 10-footer at No.9 that moved him into the tie for the lead.

"I was hitting the ball too well not to play well," said Cuzzort. "I just needed that first putt. The putt I hit at No.5 was the trigger."

Patrick Bauer of Sonoma State is alone in third at 1-over 143 after shooting a 1-over 72. Four players are at 2-over, and six more at 3-over.

Patrico Salem of Lynn, who was briefly the second round leader after starting the day with four birdies in the first six holes, is part of a group of eight golfers tied for 14th at 5-over.

The second round of the 72-hole tournament begins Thursday at 7:30 a.m. Pacific time.