BRADENTON, Fla. -- A new leader sits atop the standings after a whirlwind second-round at The Concession Golf Club helped separate a tight field in the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships.
Southern California used a team round of 285 (-3) to unseat Illinois for the top spot, holding on to a three-stroke lead on Illinois in second place, and a seven-stroke lead on third place Georgia and LSU.The Trojans started the day hot off of the 10th tee, knocking out nine birdies and an eagle on the back nine to jump to 4-under-par at the turn. Freshman Sean Crocker carded the eagle, a 45-foot putt on 17, and continued his strong play to the front nine with three birdies to shoot 68 (-4) on the 7,483-yard, par-72 course, moving into a tie for fourth on the individual leaderboard.
“I feel like we all have been playing well,” Crocker said after his round. “We all have had a good tournament here or there, everyone on our team is so excited to be here and so eager. Given the opportunity we have and not being top-ranked or being highly ranked, we just want it a lot.”
Crocker’s 68 was the second-lowest score of the day, yielding only to SMU’s Bryson Dechambeau, who carded a 67 (-5) and moved into the top spot on the individual leaderboard.
Dechambeau came out of the gate quickly, grabbing a birdie on the par-4 second hole, then notching an eagle on the third. The Mustangs’ ace bogeyed just two holes and birdied five, rolling through the course and taking a two-stroke lead on Illinois’ Thomas Detry with a two-day total of 137 (-7).
After a Friday which saw 10 strokes separate fifth place from 25th, the top teams created a little breathing room Saturday as the top six teams grabbed a three-stroke lead against 7th-place Georgia Tech, and a nine-stroke lead on the three-way tie for 14th. The field will be cut from 30 to 15 following Sunday’s round, with only eight teams surviving to Tuesday.