HOWEY IN THE HILLS, Fla. (May 16, 2012) -- Host institution Oglethorpe University expanded their lead to 14 strokes on day two of the 2012 NCAA Division III Men's Golf Championships being held at the Mission Inn Resorts in Howey-in –the-Hill, Florida.
The Stormy Petrels posted the third-best team score of the day (292, +4) and the best number among the squads competing on the demanding par-72 El Campeon Course. The Methodist University Monarchs sit alone in second place with a tournament total of +15 while the University of Texas at Tyler and Guilford College share third place at 19-over par for the Championship. A group of five teams lurk together just one shot back at 20-over to set up what should be a frenetic final two days on the leader board.
The round of the day belonged to Transylvania University, who bounced back from 308 on El Campeon yesterday to score an even par round of 288 on the Las Colinas Course. Huntingdon College was just one stroke off the pace set by the Pioneers on Colinas with a team-total of 289 that was spearheaded by the Hawks' Thomas Mitchell posting the low round of the tournament with a 67. Aside from Oglethorpe's 292, St. John Fisher College (294, +6) and Illinois Wesleyan University (297, +9) enjoyed the only sub-300 rounds on the El Campeon Course to position themselves nicely for the final two rounds.
Along with Micthell's 67, there were two other individual scores in the 60's on Wednesday turned in by Wittenburg University's David Wetterich (69, -3) and the University of La Verne's Derek Zachman (69, -3), and both came from the Los Colinas Course. Oglethorpe's freshman Anthony Maccaglia still resides atop the individual leader board after carding a 71 today on El Campeon. At 5-under for the Championship, Maccaglia is three strokes clear of three players in a tie for second place: Oglethorpe's Hayden Jones, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps' Brad Shigezawa and Nebraska Wesleyan's Drew Taylor.
Tomorrow's third round begins at 8 a.m. and will be played exclusively on the El Campeon Course amongst the 15 squads who survived the cut.
Notes and Quotes from Around the Championship
Wanting to climb back into the tournament, St. John Fisher's squad spent last night discussing course strategy at length. Their diligence paid off with the second-best score of the tournament on El Campeon. "We came up with a game plan for every hole and every shot," said head coach Bob Simms. "It kept our guys focused and I think made them less nervous because they were so intent on sticking to that game plan."
Illinois Wesleyan has been searching for a solid fourth score to post each day, but head coach Jim Ott was pleased with Wednesday's team score of 297 on El Campeon. "We got two good bounce-back days to get us back in position," he said, referring to Shane Smith and Teddy Kon each shaking off a rough round one with a 72 and 71, respectively.
Nebraska Wesleyan's Drew Taylor, who's tied for second, is happy with his game but chagrined his team couldn't survive the cut. "I kind of figured things out earlier in the week with my swing," he offered. "I felt like coming in that if I could shoot around par the first two days I might have a chance. The goal was for the team to make the cut, but if we didn't I wanted to at least shoot two good rounds and play on Thursday and Friday."
Wittenburg's David Wetterich proved how much ground a competitor can make up with a great round. He carded a 69 on Las Colinas today to rocket from 83rd place into a tie for 17th, a position if he holds on Friday that will be good enough for All-America status. "We talked about how you could score on Las Colinas and I got off to a great start today." Indeed, he did, posting birdies on four of his first five holes to set up the stellar round.
St. John Fisher's Tyler McArdell's round of 72 exemplified the good day the Cardinals enjoyed on El Campeon. "I just had to fight hard," he said, adding, "I got up and down from a couple of tough spots early on and then managed to go birdie-birdie coming in to finish the round off."
Another squad making a move up the board today was Huntingdon College from Montgomery, Alabama. "I thought we kept our composure pretty well," said head coach Matt Mahanic. "We made two triple bogeys today, which bothers me, but yesterday, we compounded those bad holes with more bad holes. Today we had a bad hole and then fought back. I see two more good rounds in our future."
Transylvania took to the course with heavy hearts today as they learned late last night that their retired legendary golf coach Harry Stephenson had passed away. Still, the Pioneers managed to honor his memory well with the low round of the day to climb into contention. Head Coach Brian Lane was one of Stephenson's pupils at Transy, had this to say about the sad news: "Harry was somebody that basically raised me. There are a lot of Transylvania folks out there today with heavy hearts because he was just one of those fabulous guys."