SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Junior Charlie Martin made a team-leading six birdies and shot a 68 to lead the Eagles to a 1-under-par 287 team score and into a tie for fifth place in the second round of the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship San Antonio Regional at Briggs Ranch Golf Club Friday.
The top-5 teams and the top individual not on those teams advance to the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship Finals at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kansas, May 23-28.
Georgia Southern, which was one of five teams to shoot under par today, has put itself squarely in a position to earn a bid, and things are boiling down to a 6-team tournament for 18 holes Saturday with two spots to the NCAA Finals on the line.
The Eagles (+2) are in a 3-way tie with UCLA (+2) and TCU (+2) with Georgia State (+1) a stroke ahead and in fourth place. College of Charleston (+5) is in eighth, followed by Central Florida (+6) in ninth.
“We’re right there at the number so hopefully, we can save our best round for last, which has typically been our mantra this year,” said Georgia Southern coach Larry Mays. “We got three scores at even-par or better today, and you need four to get where we want to go. That’s been our mantra all year long as well.”
Vanderbilt (-8) shot 15-under today to vanquish its 7-over score from yesterday and charge up the leaderboard and into second place. Georgia (-10) leads the tournament, and SMU (-6) is in third. The trio looks to have three spots to the Finals locked up, barring a collapse on the course tomorrow. VCU (+13), Columbia (+15) and South Florida (+15) will need a neck of a day to move into contention for a bid.
Should the Eagles find themselves tied for the fifth and final spot after the third round, all five players will be involved in a playoff with the four lowest scores counting.
Hayden Anderson backed up his 70 yesterday with an even-par 72 and is tied for 10th in the individual standings. Martin moved from 44th into a tie for 13th, and Will Evans shot a 72 for the second-straight day, putting him in a tie for 18th. Scott Wolfes posted a 75, and Matthew Mierzejewski carded a 78.
“We played the easier side first so we got off to a good start, which we didn’t do yesterday, and got it to 6-under and rolling a little bit,” said Mays. “Then we had to go play the harder side in the wind, and we made a few mistakes here and there - a few short-game mishaps and some three-putts that hurt us a little bit.”
TCU’s Julien Brun (-10) matched the 67 he posted yesterday to open a 5-shot lead for medalist honors over Bryson Dechambeau (-6), who shot a 71 and is in second place.
Martin got off to a torrid start on his first nine with a birdie on hole 10, the team’s first hole of the day. He added birdies on 13, 14 and 16 to make the turn at 4-under. Consecutive bogeys on holes 3 and 4 dropped him back to 2-under, but he made the strokes back with birdies on holes 5 and 7, both long par-5s.
“Charlie played great and probably could have made a birdie on every hole on his first nine,” said Mays. “He was hitting it great and really had it going. A 68 is a really good round out here.”
Birdies on holes 14 and 16 helped Anderson make the turn at 1-under. The senior notched bogeys on holes 1 and 5 but made birdie on 7 to finish even on the day. Evans was his usual, consistently-good self with two birdies and two bogeys on both the front and the back.
Sitting at 2-over after his first seven holes, Wolfes looked to have things turned around with birdies on holes 18 and 2 to get back to even, but the junior struggled coming home with three bogeys in his last six holes. After two bogeys early, Mierzejewski birdied hole 16 to fall to 1-over, but that was his only birdie of the day.
The Eagles will be paired with College of Charleston and Central Florida in today's final round. Georgia Southern will tee off hole 10 at 8:30 a.m. Eastern, and the order will be: Mierzejewski, Wolfes, Evans, Martin and Anderson.