HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Fla. – Most coaches, in any sport, will tell you that no lead is safe.
“If this was Thursday and we were talking about a 14-shot lead I might feel a little differently,” said Oglethorpe head coach Jim Owen. “There is a long ways to go in this tournament. A lot can happen over 36 holes.”
Owen’s Stormy Petrels turned a narrow lead into a 14-shot bulge with a stellar 4-over-par 292 in the second round of the 2012 NCAA Division III Men’s Golf Championships. Freshman Anthony Maccaglia leads the medalist race with teammate Hayden Jones tied with three others three shots back in second place. Maccaglia and Jones each shot 1-under 71, with Matt Rebitch playing even-par golf.
|DIII MEN’S GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP|
|Moore: Oglethorpe’s Maccaglia holds lead|
|Moore: Layout differences show early|
|Moore: Maccaglia tied for first after day one|
|• Day Two: Recap|
|• Day One: Recap|
|Leaderboard: Team | Individual|
“We are having fun out there, so we aren’t going to change anything,” said Jones, an Orlando native. “(Methodist) is fully capable of making a 14-shot lead shrink, so we are going to keep our foot on the gas the next couple of days.”
Jones was the nine or 10 man on the ladder last fall.
“I brought eight players down here for the Fall Preview and (Jones) was not one of them,” said Owen. “He was probably No. 9 or 10 on the roster. I told him if he could get his A-B-Cs in order he could be a phenomenal player. He started to do that in February.
“He has been, in my opinion, the most improved player in the nation and certainly the most improved in the history of my program.”
Methodist, in search of an eleventh national title, did not have the type of round it was looking for on Wednesday. After an opening day 291 the Monarchs shot 300 in round two. Robby Bruns was the only member of the squad to shoot par, turning in a 72 that included five birdies, two double bogeys and a bogey. Mike Wesko turned what could have been a disaster into a manageable 77 after starting 5-over through seven holes.
“I don’t like being double digits down to anybody,” said Methodist coach Jim Conley. “But if Oglethorpe keeps playing like they have it is going to be tough to catch them because (El Campeon) is a hard golf course.
“Unfortunately, we have dug ourselves a hole. It’s a little bit of everything for us; we need to hit more fairways, more greens, eliminate some silly mistakes. But two rounds of golf … a lot can happen.”
“It was a real rollercoaster today,” said Bruns. “We tried to make a move but if was a bit iffy. We have two more rounds and we’ve been in this situation before. You can’t win it the first or second day. Everyone has to play better if we are going to make a run (Thursday).”
Oglethorpe and Methodist are not the only two dogs in the race.
Texas-Tyler and Guilford will start Thursday tied at 19-over and 18 shots behind the leader. Tyler shot 295 on Los Colinas with Joey Rippel and Matt Stephens each shooting 73. Guilford also shot 295 on Los Colinas, Noah Ratner rebounding after a tough first day with a 1-under 71.
Transylvania shaved 20 strokes off its first round, shooting even-par 288 after a 308 on Tuesday. Senior Justin Tereshko found his swing again, shooting 71 after a day one 82 nightmare. Clay Hinton scorched Los Colinas’ front nine with a 5-under 30 but shot 43 on the backside for a 1-over 73, while Jantzen Latham and Hunter Frazier each shot 72.
Four schools are tied with Transylvania at 20-over. They are: Redlands, Illinois Wesleyan, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, and St. John Fisher College.
The cut line was 26-over-par with Wittenberg earning the fifteenth and final spot. The Tigers rebounded after a 309 with a 293 on the second day, getting a 69 from David Wetterich and a 73 from Craig Osterbrock.
St. Thomas of Minnesota, making its first appearance at the D-III Championships just missed the final fifteen, coming in at 27-over.
California Lutheran made a charge, shooting 292 but the first day 313 was too much to overcome.
From first to fifteenth is 25 shots.
“This thing is just getting started,” said Huntingdon head coach Matt Mahanic. “It’s been an uphill battle for us all year but this team is capable of going out and putting up a good number (Thursday).”
The goal for Methodist, and others, is obviously to play a solid round. They cannot control what Oglethorpe does.
“We need to get this thing to single digits,” said Conley. “We can only play one round at a time, but Thursday is certainly a big day for us if we are going to catch (Oglethorpe).”
The afternoon teams played through rain, nothing heavy, but enough to provide wet golf grips and slow down and soften the putting surfaces.
“This team is a good “mudder” team,” said Owen. “They play well in these types of conditions. We’ve kind of flourished in the mud and muck all year, so we welcome the rain.”
The forecast, as central Florida is used to, is expected to include a few rain showers over the final two days of golf. The big question, however, is if anybody can catch the Stormy Petrels.