STILLWATER, Okla. – After setting a Karsten Creek course record on Wednesday, LSU’s John Peterson shot 4-over 40 on his first nine on Thursday.

Peterson, a senior from Ft. Worth, Texas, started the third day in the individual lead at 5-under but dropped out of the top spot early in his round. Peterson held it together, though, and shot 72 to finish the week at 5-under-par and a shot clear of UCLA freshman Patrick Cantlay, who totaled 4-under after a final-round 71.

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“It feels good,” said Peterson. “We play on a course in Baton Rouge that’s tougher than here believe it or not. The course we play is more unfair and harder than here so this place didn’t intimidate me at all coming out here.

“Yesterday I was unconscious for 18 holes. That was incredible. To come out here and shoot even par and sleep on the lead with the way the wind kicked up, I’m pretty proud of that. To be able to shoot even par and come back from four over on the front, I’m pretty proud of that.”

After the early struggles, Peterson found his groove again, birding Nos. 11, 14, 17 and 18.

“I don’t like the front nine out here,” added Peterson. “I’ve never played it well. I didn’t break 40 two out of the three rounds, but I knew the back nine would do me better because I play here a bunch. I played here in high school, through college and we played Regionals here. I’ve always played well on the back and I was just excited to get to the back nine. I knew the worst was behind me and I just kept at it.”

The win means a double whammy for LSU. Austin Ernst, a freshman for the Lady Tigers, won the individual title at the NCAA Women’s Championship last month. It marks the first time two golfers from the same school have won the male and female medalist in the same season.

Cantlay entered the week ranked No. 1.

“It was exciting; it was fun,” said Cantlay, a freshman. “Unfortunately, I left a couple out there, but I can’t be upset with the way I played. I played really well and held up under the pressure.”

Five players tied at 1-under – Michigan’s Lion Kim, Texas A&M’s Cameron Peck, Augusta State’s Patrick Reed, San Diego State’s JJ Spaun and Oklahoma State’s Peter Uihlein.
The best round on a windy Thursday was 70 by LSU’s Yang Si and Michigan’s Matt Thompson.

With the windy conditions on Thursday, only seven players managed to remain after par for the 54 holes.

Individually speaking
Six players qualified for the 2011 Championships as individuals with one of them, UC-Davis’ Matt Hansen, withdrawing on Wednesday. After a first-round 73, Hansen, a freshman, woke up Wednesday morning with nausea, a fever, and dizziness. Hansen teed off for his second round but a shot later decided to withdraw.

Wake Forest’s Lee Beford and Middle Tennessee State’s Jason Millard finished at 6-over for the week to lead the group. Millard broke par on Wednesday, shooting 71.
Missouri’s Jace Long, who shot 62 in the final round of Regionals to qualify, opened with a 70 on Tuesday. Long came back with rounds of 77 and 78 to finish at 9-over.

Cal Poly’s Geoff Gonzalez, who birdied five of his last six holes in Regionals to qualify, shot 81-81-85 for a 3-day total of 31-over.

For example …
The par-3 11th hole shouldn’t play too tough. The 153-yard shot to a front hole location, one would think, would lead to a few birdies. But during a stretch from around noon to 1:45 during the third round, nine threesomes teed off with only one group putting all three tee shots on the green. Of the 27 shots hit only 13 found the putting surface. There were four birdies, two of them chip ins, and six bogeys.

No player was within 8-feet of the pin. Two of the birdies came from Duke players. Wes Roach chipped in from 30-feet and Brinson Paolini drained a 15-foot putt.

Big bounce-back
After shooting 91 and signing for a 90, Southern California’s Sam Smith was disqualified after Tuesday’s round. The sophomore put it behind him and birdied four of his first six holes on his way to a 71 in round 2 for a Southern California squad which shaved 14 shots off its first-day total and started the final round of stroke play just two shots out of eighth.

Steve Lim went from 78 to 72 and TJ Vogel went from 78 to 73. The Trojans made a charge early on Thursday but limped in with a 303 and finished tied for 12th.