Adrien Dumont de Chassart (Illinois Athletics photo)
Grayhawk Golf Club had some bite to it on Saturday for the second round of the NCAA Men's Division I Golf Championships.
The combination of firm greens, fast fairways and penal rough made for high scores on Saturday, as only two teams managed to shoot below par in the second round.
Illinois took advantage of its morning tee time and fired a 7-under 273 to take over the pole position as teams continue to jockey for position to qualify for match play which gets underway on Tuesday. The Illini's 7-under round was the lowest in the NCAA Tournament since Pepperdine's 271 in the final round of the 2021 NCAA Championship, also held at Grayhawk.
Rounds of 68 by Adrien Dumont de Chassart, Matthis Besard and Jackson Buchanan along with Tommy Kuhl's 69 moved the Illini eight spots up the leaderboard into first place. At 2-under 558, the Illini hold a three-shot lead over Florida, which also finished in the red on Saturday with a 2-under round of 278.
"We came out with a little bit of an edge today, came out a little more purposeful," said Illinois head coach Mike Small. "Yesterday on our first hole, we had one guy hit the green in regulation. Today we came out on point, a little more focused, and had a little more of the Illini edge, which we need to maintain, but that was the difference. We played solid golf. We chipped and putted the ball well, had a few good saves and drove it solidly. We just played from strength today."
Georgia Tech and North Carolina are tied for third at 6-over, followed by Pepperdine (+8), Vanderbilt (+10), Florida State (+11) and Virginia (+11).
Following Sunday's round of stroke play, the field will be cut from 30 teams to 15 teams and following Monday's round the field will be cut to eight teams for match play, plus the individual national champion will be determined.
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With 36 holes complete, what have we learned from 2023 NCAA Men's Golf Championship
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Steelman maintains individual lead
Ross Steelman followed up his 64 in round one with a 1-under 69 on Saturday and at 7-under 133, the Georgia Tech senior holds a three-shot lead over Daniel Rodrigues of Texas A&M and Dumont de Chassart of Illinois.
Playing in the afternoon wave, Steelman's three birdies offset a pair of bogeys, his only two blemishes over the first 36 holes of the tournament.
“It was good, obviously playing in the afternoon is a lot harder than the morning out here," said Steelman. "So being able to throw up something under-par on the board was pretty big for the individual part as well as kind of giving the team a good block to build on."
Rodrigues' 4-under 66 was the lowest round of the day, jumping the Aggie junior 17 spots up the leaderboard into a tie for second place.
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Around the cutline
The top 15 teams after Sunday will advance to Monday's final round.
BYU and Stanford currently hold the last two spots at 16-over par, while Texas Tech (+17), Big 12 champion Oklahoma (+20) and defending national champion Texas (+27) are currently on the outside looking in.
Texas Tech dropped precipitously down the leaderboard on Saturday following a 15-over round which left the Red Raiders in 16th place. If Texas Tech is to crack the top-15 come Sunday night, they will have to post a strong number while playing in the heat of the afternoon tomorrow.
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Oregon's Solhaug forced to withdraw due to injury
Oregon junior Gregory Solhaug was forced to withdraw from the championship after he stepped on a tee that went through his shoe and injured his foot. Oregon, which completed Saturday’s second round with four players, will have the option to substitute another player into their team lineup for subsequent competition rounds, as they deem appropriate.
ABOUT THE NCAA Division I Championship
30 teams and 6 individuals not on a qualifying
team make up the field for the championship of
Division I women's golf.
After 72 holes of stroke play, the individual
champion is crowned, and the low 8 teams advance
match play to determine the team champion.
View Complete Tournament Information