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Ford's birdie barrage paces North Carolina at The Stephens Cup
10 Oct 2022
by Jim Young of AmateurGolf.com

see also: Jackson T. Stephens Cup, Seminole Golf Club, David Ford Rankings

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David Ford (UNC Athletics photo)
David Ford (UNC Athletics photo)

David Ford had many of the distinguished members at Seminole Golf Club talking on Monday.

After the North Carolina sophomore ran off eight consecutive birdies en route to carding a 10-under 62 in the second round of the Jackson T. Stephens Cup being played at the esteemed course in Juno Beach, Fla., they were all asking themselves the same question.

"Has anyone done that here before?"

Maybe Ben Hogan did it on one of his many trips to Seminole while he prepared for the Masters.

Or perhaps Seminole head professional Claude Harmon had the same run when he set the course record by shooting a 12-under 60 in the 1947 Pro-Member.

Nobody seems to know, but one thing is for sure: David Ford etched his name in Seminole lore on Monday at The Stephens Cup.

After shooting a 68 in the morning to help the Tar Heels to a seven-stroke lead after the opening round, the left-hander from Peachtree Corners, Ga. was going along nicely at 2-under through eight holes of his second round. Not even the ultra-confident Ford could have imagined what was about to occur after he birdied Seminole's par-5, 545-yard ninth hole.

What transpired in the late afternoon sun on the shores of Juno Beach will certainly be discussed for years to come.

He followed his birdie on the ninth with seven consecutive birdies on hole Nos. 10-16 on his inward nine to move to 10-under on his round. After a 25-foot birdie putt on Seminole's par-4, 410-yard 16th hole resulted in his eighth straight birdie, Ford unsuccessfully tried to suppress a grin as he as sheepishly pulled the brim of his cap over his eyes in disbelief.

With Harmon's 65-year-old record within reach, Ford settled for pars on his final two holes for a round of 62.

At 14-under 130, he holds the 36-hole lead over Brett Roberts of Florida State, who is at 8-under following rounds of 69-68. Arkansas' Julian Perico was at 8-under when play was suspended.

Ford has had his share of low rounds in his young career. He previously shot 62 in the second round of the 2022 Southern Amateur in St. Simons Island, Ga., and the third round of the 2020 AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. but carding a 62 on one of the most revered courses in the work will be something he won't soon forget.

“This one might be the best round I’ve ever played just considering how nervous I was,” Ford told the GOLF Channel. “I had a lot of long waits out on the course, there were some rulings in front of me, so I had a lot of time to think, and I think I handled myself and the nerves well and got a low score out of it.”

According to North Carolina Athletic Communications, there have been 26 sub-65 rounds in Tar Heel history and Ford has the most with four, accomplished in just 16 tournaments in over the course of three semesters.

North Carolina, which headed to Seminole with a head of steam after winning the Ben Hogan Colonial Intercollegiate last week, shot matching rounds of 16-under 272 to sit at 32-under 544 through 36 holes, which is 17 shots clear of Florida State heading into Tuesday's third and final round of stroke play.

Stanford is 14-under while Texas and Notre Dame are 13 under, however, neither the Cardinal nor Longhorns were able to finish their second rounds due to darkness.

The top four teams after Tuesday's third round of stroke play advance to match play on Wednesday.

• • • • •

Kuehn leads Wake Forest to a fast start

Behind rounds of 67 and 69 by senior Rachel Kuehn, No. 2 Wake Forest will take an 11-stroke lead over No. 1 Stanford into the final 18 holes of stroke play on Tuesday.

While many are looking forward to an early season, head-to-head championship showdown between the top two teams in the nation on Wednesday, USC, Duke and South Carolina would like nothing better to crash the party.

The Trojans and Blue Devils were tied for third at 6-under while the Gamecocks were at even par when play was suspended on Monday.

Kuehn enjoys a two-stroke lead on the field on the individual leaderboard over USC's Brianna Navarrosa, who was at 6-under when the players were called off the course due to darkness.

With Kuehn surging to the top of the leaderboard, Wake Forest flashed its depth on Monday with strong play from Mimi Rhodes (-4; t-3rd), Lauren Walsh (-3; t-7th) and Carolina Lopez-Chacarra (-2; 10th).

On a day that saw Stanford's big three of Rose Zhang, Rachel Heck and Megha Ganne combine to shoot 2-under, it was junior Sadie Englemann who carried the Cardinal. With rounds of 72-68, the Austin, Texas is tied for third at 4-under, along with Carla Tejedo Mulet of LSU, Hannah Darling of South Carolina and Rhodes.

Tuesday's final round of stroke play will begin after the conclusion of first-round play.

ABOUT THE Stephens Cup

Debuting in 2021, the Jackson T. Stephens Cup is an annual collegiate golf tournament named in memory of the late Augusta National Chairman, Jackson T. Stephens. The tournament is a four-day stroke play- match play event featuring NCAA Division I National Championship contending men’s and women’s teams.

The tournament format will be 54 holes of stroke play setting the field for a final day of match play based on the stroke-play team finish; the final day of match play will be 18 holes. The event will also recognize its 54-hole winners upon completion of stroke play.

View Complete Tournament Information

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