Pinehurst, N.C. - Western Carolina freshman Mark David Johnson knocked a stroke off of his opening-round to shoot 1-under, 71, on Monday to remain in the hunt for the individual medalist honors. Johnson sits in a tie for eighth-place after two rounds at the 2016 Southern Conference Men's Golf Championship being contested at the par-72, 7,091-yard Pinehurst No. 9.
Johnson, who has a two-day total of 143 (72-71), is amidst a three-way tie for eighth, just four strokes off the individual leader's pace at the championship crowning event. As a team, WCU (598) advanced one spot in the team standings on Monday, entering the final round in sixth overall.
The tournament concludes Tuesday with tee times starting at 7:30 am going off of holes 1 and 10. The winner will receive the SoCon's automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals, while the individual winner will also receive an at-large bid if he is not on the winning team. Live scoring of the third round is available online at GolfStatResults.com.
Johnson countered three bogies and one double-bogey with six birdies in Monday's second round. The first-year striker made the turn at 2-over par before back-to-back birdies on the 10th and 11th moved him back to even par. A third birdie on the par-4 14th was countered by consecutive birdies on holes No. 15 and 16 to finish 1-under for the round for the St. Simon Island, Ga., product. Over the opening two rounds, Johnson ranks tied for second among the tournament field with 10 birdies.
WCU senior Tyler Lail advanced 10 spots on Monday, tallying three birdies for a 1-over par round of 73 and a two-day total of 149 (76-73). Lail was even through 12 holes before a double-bogey on the par-4 13th left him 2-over. The Conover, N.C., native finished with two pars, a pair of birdies and one bogey for the 1-over round. Lail ranks tied for fourth in par-5 scoring over 36 holes.
Sophomore Jackson Bishop advanced three spots into a two-way tie for 28th with a two-day score of 153 (79-74), while freshman Lawson King advanced seven positions, two strokes behind Bishop in a tie for 30th at 155 (81-74). King was seven-strokes better on Monday than his opening round. WCU's scoring five is rounded out by freshman Bradley Durand in a tie for 37th with a score of 161 (79-82).
Wofford turned in Monday's low round with a 3-under 285 to take a one-stroke lead over defending champion ETSU. Day-one leader Jeremy Grab of Wofford continues to hold a one-stroke lead in the individual race.
The Terriers scorched the Jack Nicklaus Signature course Monday with three of their counting four turning in rounds under par. Junior Andrew Novak turned in the low round of the day with a 5-under 67, recording seven birdies against just two bogeys to vault from a tie for 18th place after round one into a tie for fifth at 2-under 142 for the tournament.
Grab followed up his 4-under 68 with a 1-under 71 on Monday, playing the back nine at 2-under after making the turn at plus-1. He sits at 5-under 139 after two rounds and continues to lead UNCG's Luke Haithcock by a stroke. Haithcock matched Grab's round-two score with a 71 of his own.
The Terriers' Evan Grenus turned in a 1-under 71, as well, and is tied for 11th as Wofford is even at 576 after two days.
Wofford and ETSU jockeyed back and forth for much of the day Monday, with the Terriers, who entered the day four strokes back of the Bucs, eventually leading by as many as four. ETSU clawed back into it and wrestled the lead away late in the day before playing the final two holes at a combined 3-over. A bogey on hole 17 from the Bucs' Mateusz Gradecki, who was playing in the final grouping of the day, dropped ETSU a shot back.
ETSU sits at 1-over 577 with its 2-over 290 Monday.
The Bucs' Adrian Meronk climbed up into a tie for third, shooting a 3-under 69 for a two-day total of 141. The nation's 17th-ranked golfer is tied with Furman's Bryce Howell, who followed up his 2-under 70 from the first round with a 1-under 71 Monday.
UNCG is in third in the team race at 5-over 581 after turning in the day's only other under-par round, a 2-under 286. In addition to Haithcock in second, the Spartans have Josh Stockwell tied for 11th after a 2-under 70 moved him seven spots up the leaderboard.
Furman is two shots back of UNCG at 583 and has Wehman Hopke tied for fifth at 2-under 142 in addition to Howell in third. Hopke turned in a 2-under 70 Monday.
Chattanooga is in fifth at 10-over 586 and has Lake Johnson (T5, 2-under 142) and Kory Webb (T8, 1-under 141) in the top 10. WCU follows in sixth at 598 and saw freshman Mark David Johnson drop a spot into a tie for eighth despite shooting a 1-under 71 Monday while Samford improved by 17 strokes Monday to move up a spot into seventh place (609), while Mercer completes the field at 618.
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