ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Senior Smylie Kaufman and juniors Ben Taylor and Curtis Thompson each broke par in Saturday’s second round at the 2014 Southeastern Conference Men’s Golf Championships to lead the 22nd-ranked LSU Tigers into fourth place in the team race with just one round to go at the Seaside Course at Sea Island Golf Club.
Kaufman and Thompson each fired rounds of 2-under par 68 to lead the way, while Taylor added a 1-under par 69 of his own as the Tigers posted a team score of 5-under par 275 on the day.
The Tigers also broke par for the tournament with their performance as they followed a 4-over par 284 in the opening round with the second-lowest round in the field in the second round at 5-under par 275 to end the day in sole possession of fourth place overall with a 36-hole team score of 1-under par 559 for the weekend.
No. 1-ranked Alabama is running away with its third-straight SEC Championship after firing a tournament-low 14-under par 266 on Saturday afternoon for its two-day score of 22-under par 538. The Crimson Tide will tee off in Sunday’s final round with a commanding 17-shot lead over No. 24-ranked South Carolina and No. 26-ranked Auburn in a tie for second place at 5-under par 555 for the championship.
The No. 6-ranked Georgia Bulldogs round out the top five of the team standings after 36 holes as they trail the Tigers by two shots in fifth place with their two-day total of 1-over par 561.
After opening the championship with a team-leading 3-under 67 in his first career round at the SEC Championships on Friday afternoon, Kaufman followed with another outstanding round of 2-under 68 for Saturday to finish the day alone in fifth place on the leaderboard with his 36-hole score of 5-under 135. That performance has Kaufman poised to become the fourth LSU Tiger in six seasons to earn a Top 5 finish at the SEC tourney as he hopes to join the likes of former All-Americans and rising PGA TOUR stars John Peterson (2009, 2011) and Andrew Loupe (2010).
Kaufman is certainly within striking distance of the trio of Arkansas’ Nicolas Echavarria, South Carolina’s Will Murphy and Alabama’s Robby Shelton for the second position on the individual leaderboard as they wrapped up the day in a three-way tie for second place at 6-under par 134 for the weekend.
Like the Crimson Tide team, Alabama’s All-American Bobby Wyatt is in position to take home the individual title after firing a school-record score of 9-under par 61 on Saturday for a two-day total of 14-under par 126 on the weekend at the par-70 Seaside Course at Sea Island Golf Club. Wyatt holds an eight-stroke advantage over Echavarria, Murphy and Shelton for the top spot on the leaderboard.
Thompson matched Kaufman with a team-low score of 2-under par 68 for his best score in five career rounds at the SEC Championships. After following his 3-over 73 in Friday’s opening round with his 2-under 68 in the second round on Saturday for a 1-over par 141 on the weekend. Thompson vaulted himself 18 spots up the leaderboard into a tie for 21st place overall.
Taylor also finds himself just outside the Top 20 of the leaderboard in a tie for 21st place with Thompson after firing a 1-under par 71 on the day for a matching 36-hole score of 1-over par 141 for the tournament.
Rounding out LSU’s scorers on Saturday was junior All-America hopeful Stewart Jolly, who finished with an even-par 70 on the day to move into a tie for 24th place on the leaderboard with his score of 2-over 142 for the championship. Jolly is certainly eyeing his best career finish at the SEC Championships that currently stands as a tie for 39th place in his championship debut as a freshman in 2012.
Tiger sophomore Zach Wright added a 4-over 74 in the second round to finish the afternoon in a tie for 60th place with a 36-hole score of 10-over par 150 on the weekend.
LSU is paired with Arkansas and Georgia in Sunday’s final round at the 2014 SEC Men’s Golf Championships as they will tee off as part of the second wave off of the first tee beginning at 7:20 a.m. CT. Golfstat will have a live scoring available throughout the final round as fans can follow the Tigers in action by going online to www.golfstat.com.
SEC MEN’S GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS – SECOND ROUND RESULTS
TEAM SCORES (Par 560)
1. Alabama 272-266 – 538 -22; T2. Auburn 274-281 – 555 -5; T2. South Carolina 277-278 – 555 -5; 4. LSU 284-275 – 559 -1; 5. Georgia 277-284 – 561 +1; 6. Arkansas 280-287 – 567 +7; T7. Mississippi State 287-281 – 568 +8; T7. Missouri 288-280 – 568 +8; 9. Kentucky 287-284 – 571 +11; 10. Florida 292-281 – 573 +13; 11. Texas A&M 288-286 – 574 +14; 12. Vanderbilt 288-288 – 576 +16; 13. Tennessee 289-290 – 579 +19; 14. Ole Miss 292-293 – 585 +25.
TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS (Par 140)
1. Bobby Wyatt, Alabama, 65-61 – 126 -14; T2. Will Murphy, South Carolina, 66-68 – 134 -6; T2. Nicolas Echavarria, Arkansas, 66-68 – 134 -6; T2. Robby Shelton, Alabama, 67-67 – 134 -6; 5. Smylie Kaufman, LSU, 67-68 – 135 -5; 6. Niclas Carlsson, Auburn, 67-69 – 136 -4; 7. Matthew NeSmith, South Carolina, 65-72 – 137 -3; T8. Emilio Cuartero, Missouri, 71-68 – 139 -1; T8. Trey Mullinax, Alabama, 72-67 – 139 -1; T8. Greg Yates, Texas A&M, 72-67 – 139 -1; T8. Cory Whitsett, Alabama, 68-71 – 139 -1; T8. Will Long, Auburn, 69-70 – 139 -1; T8. Charlie Ewing, Vanderbilt, 71-68 – 139 -1; T8. Michael Cromie, Georgia, 68-71 – 139 -1.