STILLWATER, Okla. (June 1, 2011) -- Talk about a restless night.
LSU's John Peterson knew Wednesday was his window. He took full advantage, setting a course record with a 7-under 65 at Karsten Creek. What's more, Peterson took the individual lead.
The first goal for 30 men’s golf teams is to finish among the top eight after 54 holes of stroke play. Thursday marks the final 18 of those 54 holes.
Georgia Tech and UCLA, the only teams under par, appear to be safe. The threesome of Illinois, Georgia and Alabama also have the inside track at the top eight.
But after that is anybody’s guess. Nine teams will tee it up on Thursday within 11 shots of sixth-place Oklahoma State. Southern California shot 1-over on Wednesday and will start Day 3 in 10th after opening at 15-over 303.
Georgia Tech and UCLA again looked like the teams to beat this week. The Yellowjackets, who shot 5-under 283 on Day 1, carded a 290 in Round 2 and hold a 1-shot lead over the Bruins, who shot even-par on Day 2.
Only LSU’s John Peterson, who fired a course-record 7-under 65 on Wednesday, stands in front of Tech’s James White on the individual leaderboard. White, who shot 67 on Tuesday, was 1-over on Wednesday and is 4-under for the tournament.
JT Griffin and Paul Haley each shot 72 on Wednesday with freshman Richy Werenski shooting 73 for the leaders.
“Am I [a little surprised]?” said White. “A little bit I guess. Coming out this morning, I think I got it to 3-under on the day and 8-under for the tournament. I was like, ‘There’s some scoring to be done out here.’ When the wind picked up, I glanced at a few of the leaderboards and saw that all the teams that were in red were quickly going to black. I figured that everybody would be doing the same. Unfortunately, I did as well.”
White shot 73 despite two double-bogeys on his inward nine.
“He’s someone who sometimes tries to hard because he cares so much about what he’s doing,” said Tech coach Bruce Heppler of White. “He said his whole goal for this week was to come here and not focus on score – on how he was doing, on how we were doing – and just figure out how to try to hit the shot right in front of him and not get emotionally attached, good or bad, in whatever he’s doing.”
UCLA shot even-par on Wednesday getting strong outings from freshman Patrick Cantlay (69) and Gregor Main (70). The Bruins sit at 2-under through 36 holes.
Cantlay, Illinois’ Luke Guthrie and Georgia’s Harris English are all 3-under through 36 holes and two shots behind Peterson.
Illinois, despite Scott Langley’s 84 that included three “others”, shot 287 and was the only squad under par on Day 2.
Georgia, champs in 2005, shot par on Wednesday and sit at 3-over, a shot behind the Illini.
“We’re definitely moving in the right direction,” said Bulldog sophomore Bryden MacPherson, who followed up an 82 with a 71. “We’ve gotten off to a good start this week and we can build on that. It’s feeling really good here.”
Oklahoma State, considered the favorites by everyone west of the Atlantic Ocean, continued its struggles. After a 4-over 292 on Tuesday, the Cowboys stood in eighth place. A 295 in the second round sends the hosts to the final day in seventh.
“Right now I’m just concerned with playing a good round of golf [Thursday],” said OSU head coach Mike McGraw. “If one through five - we could put together a good round, I’d be happier.
Surprised? It’s golf and I keep telling these guys that I’ve play a whole lot more bad golf than they have so I have more experience at it. It’s pretty easy to let this place push you around if you don’t have your mind in the right spot.”
Talor Gooch, after an even-par round on Tuesday, shot 77. Sean Einhaus, also even after 18 holes, struggled to an 80. Peter Uihlein looked like he was headed for a course record, standing at 5-under after six holes, but shot 1-over on the back nine. However, this junior still managed a solid round of 69. Morgan Hoffman followed up a 75 with a 73.
Senior Kevin Tway shot 77 on Tuesday. He played Karsten in 74 on Wednesday, thanks to a birdie on the par-5 18th.
“I didn’t get off to a very good start. I tripled the second hole,” said Tway. “But I hung in there. I played better. This golf course, if you don’t keep the ball in play, it will cost you.”
Tway missed the fairway on No. 2 and eventually took a triple-bogey seven. The only other blemish on his round came at No. 13 where, again, he missed a fairway and paid the price taking a double-bogey six.
Fifth-ranked Florida has also struggled through two days. The Gators were 12-over on Tuesday. The second day provided a 299 and at 23-over it will take a monumental third day to keep the season going.