OU senior Patrick Welch (Conner Penfold photo)
Behind subpar rounds turned in by Patrick Welch
, Logan McAllister
and Drew Goodman
, the Oklahoma Sooners increased their lead to seven strokes over arch-rival Texas at the Southern Highlands Collegiate.
The Sooners polished off a 6-under round of 282 in the setting sun to move to 26-under 550 at the 36-hole mark of the tournament, seven strokes clear of the Longhorns and nine over Pepperdine, Florida and Georgia.
"We're in a nice spot heading into tomorrow's round," said Oklahoma head coach Ryan Hybl. "We gave up a few coming down the stretch today but overall it still wasn't a bad day. We'll need some great golf tomorrow to finish this thing off. Southern Highlands was definitely tougher today, which should be expected tomorrow as well."
After opening with a 6-under 66 on Sunday, Welch followed with a second-round 69 and at 9-under 135, shares the 36-hole lead with Florida's Fred Biondi
and UNLV's Caden Fioroni
. Welch’s teammates greeted him on the 18th green, shortly after rolling in a birdie to wrap up a 69 on moving day that sent him into a three-way tie for first individually.
“They’re my best friends,” Welch said. “We’re always cracking jokes at each other, but when it comes to competition, like qualifying or in tournaments, we want to beat each other’s heads in. It’s great to have that camaraderie. It makes us stronger.”
McAllister led Oklahoma with a 5-under 67 on Monday and is tied for second place with Georgia Tech's Christo Lamprecht at 8-under 136 with 18 holes remaining. Goodman is also in the hunt at 7-under 137.
Round 1 Recap: Red-hot Oklahoma jumps out to day one lead at Southern Highlands
The medalist earns an invitation to the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, which will take place Oct. 6-9, 2022, at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas.
Texas held the clubhouse lead at one point during the day after posting a 12-under round of 276, leap-frogging six schools to jump into second place. Senior Cole Hammer
was out in five-under 31 before parring every hole on his inward nine. His 67 was one of 4-under-par rounds for the Longhorns, who did most of their damage on Southern Highlands’ easier front side.
UNLV's Caden Fioroni
Fioroni, a UNLV sophomore fired a bogey-free 66 – his lowest competitive round as a Rebel -- to move into a tie for first place with Welch and Biondi.
“I’m feeling good about tomorrow,” Fioroni said. “I think I managed my game pretty well today. I worked on a couple things with my coach after I struggled in Hawaii. I realized I needed to work more on my mental game.”
Fioroni used his improved mind to envision chipping in on 18 and perfectly executed a left-to-right breaking bump-and-run, channeling a video he had recently watched featuring Butch Harmon and Tiger Woods on “painting a picture.”
“Golf is all mental,” Fioroni said. “I told myself I wanted to chip it in on 18 and I chipped it in."
Biondi, who is coming off an impressive win two weeks ago at the VyStar Gators Invitational, notched his fifth straight round in the 60s with a 69 to gain a share of the lead.
Oklahoma Athletic Communications contributed to this report.
ABOUT THE Southern Highlands Collegiate
54 hole men's college tournament hosted by UNLV.
Team (best four scores of five players each day) and
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