Men's Golf in Contention at NCAA Championhip
HUTCHINSON, Kan. – With a fast start to their second round, the 16th-ranked LSU Tigers have fired themselves into contention for the team title at the 2014 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships after finishing Saturday’s action in a tie for sixth place at 4-under par when play was suspended in the event being played at Prairie Dunes Country Club.
After opening with a team score of 1-under par 279 in the first round, the Tigers were 3-under par through holes Nos. 11-14 in their second round when play was suspended due to darkness at 8:30 p.m. CT.
The field at this year’s NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships is still playing catch up following Friday’s opener as the morning wave of teams had barely started the first round when inclement weather delayed the competition three different times before the continuation of the first round was suspended until Saturday morning. The second round will continue Sunday at 7 a.m. CT.
The Tigers will continue play Sunday in contention for a spot in the eight-team match-play tournament for the national championship as they are tied for sixth place with second-ranked Oklahoma State and 14th-ranked Oklahoma in the 30-team field. LSU actually catapulted itself into a tie for the lead with No. 3-ranked Stanford at 10-under par for the championship as players began to make the turn in the second round.
Stanford was one of only six teams in the field to complete its second round on Saturday as it followed a 1-over par 281 in the opening round with a blistering 13-under par 267 in the second round to finish the day atop the team standings at 12-under par with a 36-hole total of 548 for the championship.
The Cardinal lead No. 1-ranked Alabama and No. 24-ranked South Carolina by four shots in the race for the No. 1 seed in match play as the Crimson Tide followed a round of 6-under par 274 in the morning with its score of 2-under par 278 in the afternoon for a 36-hole score of 8-under par 552 on the day, and the Gamecocks opened with an 8-under par 272 in the first round while still having yet to tee off in the second round.
Rounding out the Top 8 are No. 23-ranked Auburn in fourth place with a 6-under 274 and No. 28-ranked SMU in fifth place with a 5-under 275 in the first round as both teams have yet to tee off in the second round.
Junior Ben Taylor proved to be the top Tiger over the course of the day as he picked up his ball when play was suspended at 1-under par for the championship after playing 31 holes on the day. Taylor opened up with a 1-over par 71 in the first round before playing at 2-under par through 13 holes in his second round, thanks to a trio of birdies at the par-three second, par-four third and par-four eighth holes. He will resume play in a tie for 29th place as the leading LSU Tiger on the leaderboard.
Senior Smylie Kaufman and junior Curtis Thompson matched each other shot-for-shot throughout Saturday’s action after firing team-leading rounds of 2-under par 68 in the morning before picking up at 2-over par in a delayed second round. They are currently tied with one another for 39th place overall with Kaufman playing 31 holes and Thompson playing 30 holes in their second round.
Sophomore Zach Wright added a 2-over par 72 toward LSU’s team score of 1-under par 279 in the first round before finishing 14 holes at 1-under par in the second round to finish the day at 1-over par through 32 holes, which tied him for 54th place at the time play was suspended. Wright will be the first Tiger to sign his scorecard upon completing the second round on Sunday morning.
Junior All-SEC performer and All-America hopeful Stewart Jolly rebounded from a 4-over 74 in the first round to sit at 2-under par for his second round after carding four birdies and two bogeys through 11 holes for the afternoon round. Jolly fired out of the blocks with birdies at the par-four first, par-four third and par-three fourth holes before picking up another shot with a fourth birdie at the par-five seventh hole to get to 4-under for his second round. He turned at 2-under following back-to-back bogeys at No. 8 and No. 9 before picking up his ball on the 12th hole.
Stanford’s Cameron Wilson fired a 7-under par 63 in the second round to catapult himself into a share of the individual lead with South Carolina’s Will Starke as both players will tee off on Sunday morning at 6-under for the championship. Wilson is in the clubhouse with a 36-hole score of 6-under par 134, while Starke has yet to tee off in the second round after opening with a score of 6-under par 64 in the first round.