May 22, 2009

 

Courtesy of CSU-San Bernadino

BLAINE, Wash. - Cal State San Bernardino put itself in position to capture the first NCAA team championship in any sport Thursday by taking an eight-shot lead into the final round of the 2009 NCAA Division II Golf Championship after fending off challenges by second-day leader Barry and CCAA rival Sonoma State.

The Coyotes stand atop the 20-team leader board at 879 for 54 holes, 27 over par, eight shots ahead of Barry, whose team was 20-over-par on its round and now stands at 887. Sonoma State is in a tie for third place with Columbus State of Georgia at 888 with Georgia College in fifth at 891.

Gene Webster maintained his lead over the field of 106 individuals for the third straight day, shooting a one-over-par 72 to finish the day at even-par 213 on the par-71, 6995-yard Loomis Trail Golf Course, a course that took no prisoners on Thursday.

Only three players in the field were under par and only one broke 70.

Webster, who had seven birdies, five bogeys and a double bogey in a wild round on Wednesday, played steady golf Thursday. He parred all nine holes on the front nine before carding a bogey at the par-4, 433-yard 10th hole. However, he produced a birdie four at the 563-yard par-5 14th hole. A bogey five at the 472-yard , par-4 17th -- the toughest hole on the course -- resulted in a round of 72.

He leads Steve Cuzzort of Wayne State and Gavin Smith of Indiana Univ of Pennsylvania by two shots. Both are at 215.

Meanwhile, two of Webster's teammates -- Micah Burke and Joe Alldis had solid rounds, each finishing at two-over par 73 and are both tied for 10th place at 220 -- seven over par for the tournament.    

Alldis was one-under-par through nine holes after birding the 382-yard ninth hole, but bogeyed three holes coming in for his 73.

Burke started off with a birdie at the par-5, 562-yard second hole but suffered a double bogey five at the 176-yard, par-3 fifth hole/ He played par golf for the next 10 holes, before taking bogey at 16 on his 73.

Junior Thomas Chu had an up-and-down round with two birdies, six bogeys and a double bogey for a 77 to tie for 41st place at 227, 14-over-par.

Sophomore Kenny Pigman, having trouble getting untracked since he suffered a quintuple bogey nine at the 17th hole on opening day that helped turn a one-under-par round into a five-over-par 76, had a non-scoring 80 to finish the day in 66th spot. Pigman had been averaging 72.9 strokes per round this season and was coming off a ninth-place finish at the West-Central Super Regional.

If Pigman can play Friday the way he has played prior to this tournament, the Coyotes fortunes will indeed be enhanced. In the meantime, Webster, Alldis, Burke and Chu have put CSUSB in a position to make history.

Webster has a shot to be the second CSUSB golfer to win medalist honors at the national championship. The first one was Scott Householder who shot a 15-under-par 273 to win in 1997 at Scottdale, Ariz. The team finished third that year.

The weather is expected to be sunny and clear with temperatures in the mid-60s on Friday. Will it be winning time for the Coyotes? Stay tuned.