SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The No. 16 Virginia men’s golf team made a strong run up the leaderboard during Saturday’s second round of the NCAA Championships at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz. The Cavaliers shot 1-over 281, the second-best score among the 15 teams that played in morning wave, to move up 10 spots to a tie for seventh place. Virginia is tied with seventh-ranked Florida State at 11-over 571.
Illinois posted the day’s best score, shooting 7-under 273 to take the overall lead at 2-under 558. Florida is second at 561 and North Carolina and Georgia Tech are tie for third at 566.
Following Sunday’s third round, the field will be cut to 15 teams for Monday’s final round that will decide the individual champion and the eight teams that will advance to match play.
UVA was led Saturday by the freshman duo of Ben James and Bryan Lee. James shot 2-under 68 and moved up 23 spots to eighth place at 1-under 139. Lee also advanced 23 spots on the leaderboard and is tied for 24th at 2-over 142.
Georgia Tech’s Ross Steelman maintained his first-round lead, shooting 1-under 69 for a 36-hole total of 7-under 136. He holds a three-shot lead over the field.
“I felt like yesterday, we played fairly well in the afternoon which put us in a good position here today,” head coach Bowen Sargent said. “For both days we kind of did what we knew we needed to do. We hung in there yesterday and then today I felt like you could have broken par and we were certainly right there to do that.”
James had three birdies and a single bogey during his round while Lee bounced back from back-to-back bogeys on holes six and seven to finish his round at even par.
Deven Patel posted a score of 73 and is third overall for UVA in 55th place at 5-over 145. Pietro Bovari was UVA’s fourth counting score during the second round at 2-over 72. His 36-hole total stands at 147 which is good for 84th place. George Duangmanee rebounded from a first-round 77 to shoot 71 on Saturday. He is in 95th place.
“The guys are playing well top to bottom,” Sargent said. “We had all five guys kind of in it today. That’s what you need at this level. You can’t have people not be in mix. To commit to make that top eight, you’ve got to have five guys pulling on the same end of the rope.”
A big key to UVA’s success is Grayhawk’s daunting 18th hole. For the championship, it plays as a 520-yard par four with water right of the green. During the opening two rounds, the Cavaliers’ four counting players all posted scores of par in each round.
“We played 18 great,” Sargent said, “It is a tough hole. That is probably the difference for us. We’ve played 18 well both days. That turned what could have been an average day into a very good day.”
During Sunday’s third round UVA will be paired with Florida State and Alabama. Those teams will tee off starting at 7:05 a.m. MST from the first tee.
Live scoring of the event is online at Golfstat.com.
Grayhawk Golf Club
Par 70, 7,289 yards
1. Illinois 285-273-558
2. Florida 283-278-561
3. North Carolina 282-284-566
3. Georgia Tech 280-286-566
5. Pepperdine 281-287-568
6. Vanderbilt 282-288-570
7. Florida State 284-287-571
7. Virginia 290-281-571
9. Alabama 290-282-572
9. Arizona State 291-281-572
11. Auburn 288-286-574
11. Texas A&M 289-285-574
13. Georgia 285-291-576
13. Stanford 290-286-576
13. BYU 289-287-576
16. Texas Tech 282-295-577
17. Colorado 292-287-579
17. San Francisco 285-294-579
19. Oklahoma 287-293-580
20. Arkansas 281-301-582
20. Ohio State 287-295-582
22. Oregon 292-291-583
23. Mississippi State 292-295-586
24. Texas 295-292-587
25. New Mexico 293-296-589
26. Duke 290-300-590
27. Chattanooga 294-300-594
28. Colorado State 296-299-595
29. Baylor 304-297-601
30. East Tennessee St. 302-297-600
1. Ross Steelman, Georgia Tech 64-69-133
2. Daniel Rodrigues, Texas A&M 70-66-135
2. A. Dumont de Chassart, Illinois 68-68-136
8. Ben James 71-68-139
24. Bryan Lee 72-70-142
55. Deven Patel 72-73-145
84. Pietro Bovari 75-72-147
95. George Duangmanee 77-71-148