TRUCKEE, CALIF. (July 27, 2011) - Derek Ernst of Clovis, Calif. and Taylor Travis of Fremont, Calif. share the halfway lead with 36-hole totals of 5-under-par 139 at the 45th Pacific Coast Amateur Championship at Martis Camp Club near Lake Tahoe.
The 21-year-old Ernst, a rising junior at UNLV who shared the first-round lead after establishing the competitive course record of 67 yesterday, rallied after a shaky start today to finish at even-par 72. Travis, a 20-year-old junior-to-be at the University of San Francisco, shot 2-under-par 70 today to go with his 69 yesterday.
Tim Madigan of Rio Rancho, NM had the day's low round, a 3-under-par 68, and is alone in third place at 3-under-par 141, a shot in front of co-first-round leader Mitchell Evanecz of Red Deer, Alberta, and Matt Rawitzer of Bellingham, Wash. Evanecz, who shared the competitive course record with Ernst yesterday, slipped to a 74 today, while Rawitzer posted 70. Defending champion Andrew Putnam of University Place, Wash. is tied for 11th at even-par 144.
The Northern California Golf Association rallied to earn a three-shot victory over the Colorado GA in the Morse Cup team competition, which is held concurrently with the first two rounds of the individual championship. It was the NCGA's first Morse Cup win since 2002.
Each of the 15 associations that make up the Pacific Coast Golf Association (which conducts the championship) names three players in advance of the tournament as its representatives and the best two of three scores each round count for the team totals.
The NCGA finished at 4-under-par 284; Martin Trainer of Palo Alto, Calif. shot 2-under-par 70 to join with Ernst's 72 for its team total today. Colorado, which shared the lead with Alberta after yesterday's first round, shot 287 for the two rounds. Alberta finished third after posting 288 while defending champion Pacific Northwest GA, Oregon GA and Sun Country GA tied for fourth at 289.
Ernst, the runner-up in this year's U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship and one of the players reportedly under consideration for this year's Walker Cup team, began slowly today, missing a three-foot birdie putt on his first hole (the par-five 10th) and three putting the next two greens for a 2-over-par start. "I was really struggling," he admitted later. "I had no clue after missing that first birdie putt badly."
However, Ernst quickly steadied his round, making eight pars on the next nine holes. He then rallied with birdies on the two front-nine par 5s and a birdie 2 on the eighth hole (his 17th) when his five-iron tee shot finished eight inches from the cup. "Making an ace would have been nice but I was happy to finish at even par after the way I started," said Ernst.
Travis got off to a strong start, making two birdies in his first five holes and chipping in for birdie 2 on the 250-yard eighth hole. After making his only bogey, on the 504-yard ninth, he finished the day with nine consecutive pars on the back side. "I had some opportunities on the back," he said later, " but just couldn't take advantage. But overall, I played pretty steady."
Martis Camp Club, designed by Tom Fazio, played to 7,766 yards, par 72 today. The average score was 75.940 today, more than half a shot tougher than the first round. Ten players shot under par today vs. 17 yesterday. Collegians are dominating the leaderboard; at age 25, Evanecz is the oldest player in the top 15.