NORMAN, Okla. — Every student-athlete on Washington scored birdie or better on the final hole of the day to highlight Friday’s second round of the NCAA Norman Regional in which the Huskies shot 7-under-par 281 and moved into sole possession of first place.
The Huskies are 9-under 567 for the tournament and will take a four-shot lead into Saturday’s final round. Washington had to overcome a seven-stroke advantage by first round leaders Texas and Florida State.
UW was 6-under on the final hole with four birdies and an eagle from Chris Williams.
On the heels of the Huskies is the Florida State and Texas. FSU is 5-under, while Texas is 4-under. Illinois is fourth at 1-under and Georgia Tech is even for the tournament and fifth.
On a day in which there were many heroes for the Huskies, Charlie Hughes and Williams stood out the most. The duo both shot 4-under 68 during the round.
Hughes’ 68 was his lowest round of the season. He had struggled to find consistency in 2012, but was able to get in a groove right away on Friday. He birdied No. 2 and added three more before bogeying No. 14 and ending his day with a birdie on 18.
Hughes showed signs of turning things around on Thursday when he ended his round with back-to-back birdies on No.’s 17 and 18 after going the first 16 holes without a birdie. He is 6-under with only one bogey in his last 20 holes.
He is currently tied for seventh on the leaderboard at 2-under 142.
Williams, a first-team All-Pac-12 selection and Hogan Award semifinalist, got off to a rough start with a bogey on No. 1, but bounced back quickly with birdies on No.’s 3 and 5. He notched one last bogey on No. 7 before birdying No.’s 8 and 10.
He finished the day off with an impressive eagle on the par-5 18th hole. Williams drained a 75-foot putt to score a three on the final hole.
Williams, the No. 7 ranked player in the nation, was 4-under on the par-5 holes. He enters Saturday’s final round tied for fifth at 3-under 141.
Williams and Hughes are not even the top Husky on the leaderboard. That honor goes to Cheng-Tsung Pan, who is tied for fourth at 4-under 140.
Pan took a circular route to shoot 71 on Friday. He stumbled out of the gates with bogey, double-bogey before gaining some traction with a birdie on No. 3. Pan would go on to bogey three more holes, but answered with a birdie on the next hole each time. He squeezed three more birdies in during the round to end up with a total of seven for the day.
Pan is three shots back of tournament leader Thomas Pieters of Illinois. Pieters sits at 7-under-par 137 and enjoys a one stroke lead on Florida State’s Daniel Berger. Jonathan De Los Reye is third at 5-under.
Fourth among Huskies, but still among the top-15 golfers fighting for medalist honors is Trevor Simsby. Simsby carded a 74 and is even for the tournament with a 144. He is tied for 13th.
Simsby struggled to convert birdie opportunities before finally notching one on the 18th hole.
Ty Chambers is tied for 50th after Day two, but was a big contributor on Friday. His score of 75 may not have counted towards the team total, but he provided a nice insurance policy in case any of his teammates would have faltered down the stretch.
The highlight of Chambers’ round came down the stretch when he birdied the final two holes of the day.