COLUMBIA, Mo. – Sparked by a 5-under par round of 67 by senior Smylie Kaufman, the 14th-ranked and No. 3-seeded LSU Tigers broke par with a team score of 2-under par 286 in Friday’s second round at the NCAA Columbia Regional to wrap up the day in sole possession of fourth place in the event being held this weekend at The Club at Old Hawthorne.
The Tigers are also one of four teams in the 14-team field to break par for 36 holes with their two-round total of 1-under par 575 as they remain in qualifying position for the NCAA Championships.
After teeing on Friday in a tie for fourth place with the Tigers, the 24th-ranked and No. 4-seeded Arkansas Razorbacks fired a collegiate course record of 18-under par 270 to propel themselves into a tie for the lead with the No. 2-ranked and No. 1-seeded Oklahoma State Cowboys with matching two-day totals of 17-under par 559 for the championship.
The Cowboys broke par for the second-straight day as they followed their 16-under 272 in the first round with a 1-under 287 in the second round to finish the day tied with the Razorbacks for first place.
Regional host Missouri, playing as the No. 8 seed, will tee off in the final round just two shots off the pace in third place in the team standings with its 36-hole score of 15-under par 561. The Tigers opened with round of 7-under par 281 on Thursday before joining Arkansas and Oklahoma State in a battle for the regional title with their 8-under par 280 on Friday to finish the day two shots back.
Rounding out the top five of the team standings is 26th-ranked and No. 5-seeded Arizona State with its team total of even-par 576, including a 3-under par 285 in Friday’s second round.
Kaufman has been outstanding in leading the Tigers during the championship season as he finds himself challenging for the NCAA Columbia Regional crown after already finishing second on the final leaderboard at the SEC Men’s Golf Championships where he fired a career-low score of 11-under par 199 for 54 holes.
Kaufman will tee off in Saturday’s final round just two shots off the lead in a tie for fifth place as he followed an even-par 72 on Thursday with a 5-under 67 on Friday to finish with a 36-hole score of 5-under 139.
The Birmingham, Ala., native was nearly flawless on his round while carding six birdies along with just one bogey to finish as the top Tiger for the second-straight day at the NCAA Columbia Regional. He opened with his first birdie of the day at the par-four first hole before falling back to even-par with his lone bogey at the par-four third hole. Kaufman finished up the front nine with a flurry, carding three birdies in a five-hole stretch at the par-four fifth, par-four eighth and par-five ninth holes to make the turn at 3-under par for the day.
Kaufman then picked up two more shots on the back nine with birdies on a pair of par-threes at No. 12 and No. 16 before holing out on the 18th green with a team-low of 5-under par 67 in the second round. Kaufman is now a collective 16-under par in his five rounds during the championships season between the SEC Championships and NCAA Columbia Regional.
Missouri’s Hunter Kraus sits at the top of the leaderboard with his 36-hole score of 7-under 137 after following his 4-under 68 on Thursday with a 3-under 69 on Friday to claim a narrow one-shot lead over Taylor Moore of Arkansas, Jordan Niebrugge of Oklahoma State and Max Rottluff of Arizona State in a three-way tie for second place at 6-under par 138 for the championship.
Kaufman is two shots off the pace in a tie for fifth place overall with Missouri’s Ryan Zech, who has also posted a 36-hole score of 5-under par 139 through two rounds at The Club at Old Hawthorne.
LSU’s First-Team All-SEC performer and All-America candidate Stewart Jolly has cracked the Top 20 of the leaderboard after two rounds following back-to-back scores of even-par 72 as he is seven shots outside the top spot with his two-day total of even-par 144 to tie for 18th place. Jolly canceled three bogeys on his card with three birdies in the second round to post his second-straight round of 72 for the Tigers.
Sophomore Zach Wright matched Jolly’s effort with an even-par 72 of his own Friday as he is just one shot back of his Tiger teammate in a tie for 21st place on the leaderboard at 1-over par 145. Juniors Curtis Thompson and Ben Taylor each added rounds of 3-over par 75 on Friday as Thompson is in 30th place at 3-over 147 and Taylor is tied for 38th place at 5-over 149 for the championship.
The Tigers are paired with Arizona State and Iowa State in Saturday’s final round at the NCAA Columbia Regional as they will tee off in the first wave off the front nine beginning at 7:50 a.m. CT. Golfstat will provide live scoring of the final round as fans can follow the Tigers in action by logging on to www.golfstat.com.
NCAA COLUMBIA REGIONAL – SECOND ROUND RESULTS
TEAM SCORES (Par 576)
T1. Arkansas 289-270 – 559 -17; T1. Oklahoma State 272-287 – 559 -17; 3. Missouri 281-280 – 561 -15; 4. LSU 289-286 – 575 -1; 5. Arizona State 291-285 – 576 E; 6. Iowa State 293-286 – 579 +3; 7. San Diego State 294-288 – 582 +6; 8. Iowa 291-294 – 585 +9; 9. Virginia 285-303 – 588 +12; 10. Middle Tennessee State 301-292 – 593 +17; 11. Denver 300-301 – 601 +25; 12. Loyola (Md.) 308-294 – 602 +26; 13. Ohio State 308-303 – 611 +35; 14. Bryant 316-316 – 632 +56.
TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS (Par 144)
1. Hunter Kraus, Missouri, 68-69 – 137 -7; T2. Taylor Moore, Arkansas, 71-67 – 138 -6; T2. Jordan Niebrugge, Oklahoma State, 65-73 – 138 -6; T2. Max Rottluff, Arizona State, 71-67 – 138 -6; T5. Smylie Kaufman, LSU, 72-67 – 139 -5; T5. Ryan Zech, Missouri, 69-70 – 139 -5; T7. Sebastian Cappelen, Arkansas, 73-67 – 140 -4; T7. Wyndham Clark, Oklahoma State, 70-70 – 140 -4; T7. Emilio Cuartero, Missouri, 70-70 – 140 -4; Nicolas Echavarria, Arkansas, 73-67 – 140 -4; T7. Talor Gooch, Oklahoma State, 67-73 – 140 -4.