Division I Men's Golf: Vanderbilt vaults into Day 2 lead
EUGENE, Ore. – Vanderbilt put together an even-par round and moved ahead of the pack to lead after Saturday’s second round of the 2016 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships at Eugene Country Club, a par 70, 7,014-yard course.
The Commodores were paced by a 2-under round from senior Matthias Schwab, who soared 27 spots up the individual leaderboard to sit in a tie for sixth.
Two strokes behind Vanderbilt is Southern California, which climbed one spot, as the Trojans shot a 2-over 282 today to move to 5-over for the tournament.
“I thought [today’s round] went well,” Southern California head coach Chris Zambri said. “We did not really do much differently … I don’t think the strategy really changes day to day, so you really got to drive it in the fairway. I like where we are, there is so much golf left so it’s a nice way to start, but there is a lot to play.”
Trojan freshman Justin Suh continued to be on fire as he finished 3-under for the day and 5-under for the tournament, putting him atop the individual leaderboard. After recording three birdies to just one bogey on the front nine, Suh went bogey-free after the turn and put together his second under-par round of the tournament.
“For the past two days, I think I’ve been hitting a lot of fairways, which sets up easy wedges, which we were working on coming in to this week,” Suh said. “All my teammates have experience at this level, so practicing and playing with them all year, I know what it takes to win.”
Right behind Suh in a tie for second is Alabama’s Robby Shelton and San Diego State’s Nahum Mendoza III. Shelton’s 4-under 66 is the lowest round recorded thus far as the junior went bogey-free over the 18 holes.
“I played well, to get bogey-free is huge especially out here, it’s tough, you can get behind trees and make it tough on yourself, but I’m just hitting it really well right now,” Shelton said. “I’m trying to make pars, but there are definitely birdies out there if you’re hitting your wedges well, hitting your tee shots well, it’s gettable.”
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Mendoza carded his second under-par round of the tournament, following up yesterday’s 3-under 67 with a 1-under 69 today.
“Today I putted a lot better than I did yesterday, but those are just hard holes coming down the stretch that I just made a few mistakes on,” Mendoza said. “But if you told me I was going to shoot 69, I would’ve taken it because I still played a great round despite the stumble.”
Arkansas, who was tied for the lead after yesterday’s opening round, fell two spots to third today after shooting a 4-over 284. LSU and host Oregon are both two strokes behind the Razorbacks. The Ducks jumped up 15 spots after finishing three-under today receiving sub-par rounds from freshman Edwin Yi and redshirt junior Sulman Raza.
“I just thought we were kind of lazy out there [yesterday], and this was the National Championships,” Ducks’ head coach Casey Martin said. “I wanted them to bring it today. It’s exciting. We’re in position and we’ve just got to keep doing it.”
Yi, who is tied for sixth, had a stretch of three holes on the front nine where he sunk two birdies and fired an eagle in between to move to 3-under. A bogey on the eighth hole moved him up to 2-under for the round, but he still carded the best round on the team.
“It’s incredible the way he’s played the last two days,” Oregon sophomore Aaron Wise said.
“Edwin’s the type of player where, in his heart, he believes he can do it. That’s something you can’t teach. For Edwin to go out and do what he’s done the last two rounds is awesome.”
The third round of stroke play is set to get underway Sunday morning at 7 a.m. The field will be narrowed to the top 15 teams and nine individuals not on an advancing team following the conclusion of the round.