EUGENE, Ore. – A strong back nine helped keep the Kentucky men’s golf team in contention for a spot in Monday’s qualifying round for match play following the second round at the NCAA Championship on the course of the Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Ore. The Wildcats improved by three strokes as a team and head into Sunday in a tie for 15th with Auburn, Clemson, Georgia and San Diego State.
Sophomore Cooper Musselman and junior Stephen Stallings both logged 1-over par 71s to lead the Wildcats on the individual leaderboard. Musselman is tied for 48th to pace Kentucky through two rounds of competition.
The unforgiving course has created a logjam among the teams with very little separation. Five strokes divide the seventh-place teams and the teams tied for 15th, while 12 teams are within seven strokes of one another from 11th place through 22nd.
What head coach Brian Craig is sayin
“We are right in the hunt to keep advancing, but the course is not separating the teams a whole lot. We could use a really good round tomorrow. I know it is in us, but we need to stay patient. A big shout out to Chip McDaniel for showing the grit we talk about often by his play on the back nine today.”
About the lineup:
Tyler “Chip” McDaniel staved off a rough opening nine holes by birdying four of his final nine to finish the day at 2-over par. His charge after the turn sparked the Wildcats late and kept the team in contention. McDaniel is tied for 53rd overall on the individual leaderboard and is just one stroke off of his classmate, Musselman for the team lead.
Musselman continued his steady play with a round of 71. He is 3-over par through 36 holes. He posted a flawless opening nine holes with even par scores on all nine. He shot 1-over following the turn for his 1-over round. He sits in a tie for 48th through two rounds.
Stallings also logged a 1-over round of 71. He put together a flurry of birdies on the opening nine with his first coming at the par-three No. 12. He then posted birdies on back-to-back-to-back holes from 15-17 to finish the opening nine holes at 2-under. He fended off a tough opening four holes after the turn to birdie the par-four eighth to preserve the 1-over round. He is currently tied for 81st on the leaderboard after moving up 21 spots with the 71 in today’s round.
Freshman Lukas Euler capped his second round in stylish fashion with a 2-under back nine. Euler was UK’s biggest mover on the individual leaderboard as he advanced 25 positions. A 3-over opening nine was offset with the 2-under score after the turn. He is in a tie for 101st heading into the final day.
Senior David Snyder logged a round of 75 on Saturday. His round was highlighted by a pair of birdies on both the front and back nine. Snyder sits in a tie for 64th overall.
The Tournament Field:
Kentucky was in the afternoon group of today’s split session. UK improved by three strokes as a team, but fell into a tie for 15th as Oregon and Alabama made a move with under-par scores. Eighth-ranked Vanderbilt leads the tournament through 36 holes of action after posting an even-par round on Saturday. The Commodores own a two-shot lead over Southern Cal who is second at 5-over for the tournament.
Teams will begin play at 10 a.m. ET on Sunday. Following 54 holes of action, the top 15 teams will play an additional 18 holes on Monday to determine the eight-team match-play field. Additionally, nine individuals not on advancing teams will join the field to play a final 18 holes on Monday to determine a 72-hole individual national champion.