HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS, Fla. – A day after El Campeon did not allow an under-par round, two from the same group did it on Wednesday.

Drew Taylor, a freshman from Omaha who tees it up for Nebraska Wesleyan, and Joe Evans, a senior from Hampton, Va., who plays for Christopher Newport, carded rounds of 2-under-par 70 and 1-under 71, respectively.

Taylor opened the week with an even-par 72 on Los Colinas, considered by most the more difficult of the two courses. Evans also shot 72 on the same track in the opening round. After 36 holes the pair – both lefties – finds themselves in a battle for medalist honors and two of just five players under par at the halfway point.

DIII MEN'S GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP
Moore: Oglethorpe expands lead on day two
Moore: Layout differences show early
Moore: Maccaglia tied for first after day one
• Day Two: Recap
• Day One: Recap
Leaderboard: Team | Individual

“I kind of figured things out earlier in the week with my swing,” said Taylor, who will start Thursday three shots behind leader Anthony Maccaglia of Oglethorpe. “I felt like coming in that if I could shoot around par the first two days I might have a shot at something. The goal was for the team to make the cut, but if we didn’t I wanted at least to shoot two good rounds and play on Thursday and Friday.”

Taylor, who entered the week ranked 74th among Division III golfers, started his second round birdie-birdie but came back to par with back-to-back bogeys on the difficult fourth and fifth holes. His final 13 holes were played in 2-under.

“(The team) talked about the two courses and which one was more difficult,” he said. “We really couldn’t decide; they are both similar. El Campeon, I think, is easier to drive the ball. If you can get through that tough stretch on the front nine you have a chance to have a good round. I three-putted number four and hit a good tee shot on number five, but I hit my second in the bunker, then left it above the hole and had a pretty quick putt coming back.

“I have been hitting my 3-wood pretty good all week, so I hit it on number seven to make sure I got it in the fairway to get back things back under control.

“Three of my four birdies I hit it to about 3-feet.”

Evans, a four-year starter for the Captains and the program’s all-time best as far as scoring average, played the front nine in 1-under, picking up birdies on No. 3 and the tough fifth. He bogeyed No. 13 but finished with a birdie on No. 18.

“It was a good group, we had some fun,” said Evans. “We did feed off each other. (Taylor) likes to hit a draw like I do so we hit a lot of the same shots.”

“The course sets up well for lefties,” said Christopher Newport head coach Jamie Coleman. “They both played extremely well (Wednesday).

“(Joe) is a bit unorthodox but he is a really good player. We approached this week with a game plan and he has stuck to it.”

“I got off to a solid start,” added Evans. “I only hit one bad tee shot all day. I’m hitting it really well and I feel great going into Thursday. I need to get the putter rolling; that’s been the difference for me this week. I could have had a couple more birds if I was putting better.”

We did feed off each other. (Taylor) likes to hit a draw like I do so we hit a lot of the same shots.
-- Christopher Newport's Joe Evans

Maccaglia showed Tuesday was no fluke. The freshman, one of six players to shoot under par on Wednesday on El Campeon, followed up his 68 with a 1-under 71 that included birdies on three of his final five holes.

“Five under after two days, I couldn’t be any happier,” said Maccaglia. “Today was a bit more of an up-and-down round; I didn’t hit it as well as I did (Tuesday). I wanted to shoot at least 1-over on the front nine and I was able to do that. The greens got a bit spongy on the back nine, but it didn’t affect the way they rolled. It may have made the course a little easier.

“The team is really excited about the way things have gone. If we can shoot 292 the next two days I think we win it.”

Maccaglia leads teammate Hayden Jones, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps’ Brad Shigezawa, and Taylor in the race for medalist. Evans is four back, with 2010 NCAA champion Tain Lee lurking five back after a solid 2-under 70 on El Campeon that included a 3-under back nine.

Six players are 1-over, six shots back, including Huntingdon freshman Thomas Mitchell, who fired a tournament-best 67 on Los Colinas on Wednesday after shooting 78 on Tuesday. He helped push Huntingdon inside the cut line.

“When we need a round he generally gives it to us,” said Huntingdon head coach Matt Mahanic. “But to think he is going to shoot 67 … I would have been happy with a 71. He’s perfectly capable of shooting rounds like this because he chips and putts better than anybody on our team. That’s a freshman leading us and knowing we don’t lose anybody from this team is very motivating for the next couple of years.

“The only problem he’s got now is that I’m going to expect it every time he tees it up.”

Mitchell was thinking par for his second round.

“I made a 30-footer for eagle on No. 5, and then I birdied No. 6 so I was 3-under pretty quick,” said Mitchell. “I really wanted to go as low as I could. I struggled on the back a little but I was able to birdie 13 and 16. The weather wasn’t really a big deal to me.

“Hopefully everybody can play well and we can win this thing. I think the pressure is off, making the cut; now we can just go play and see what happens.”

Three players found the 60s on Los Colinas in the second round. La Verne’s Derek Zachman, Wittenberg’s David Wetterich, and Gustavus Adolphus’ Trevor Gervais all shot 69.