April 21, 2014
Pinehurst, N.C. - Western Carolina carded a collective six-under par, 282, on Monday to open up a four-stroke lead over No. 47 Georgia Southern after 36 holes at the 2014 Southern Conference Men's Golf Championship at the par-72, 7,122-yard National Golf Club. WCU has two individuals inside the top 10 entering the final round led by overall tournament leader, junior J.T. Poston who holds a commanding eight-stroke lead in the race for individual medalist honors.
Poston and the Catamounts were tied for first place with Davidson after day one, but dropped 12 strokes from their first-round score on day two, firing their best round of the season to date. The six-under par, 282, represents the lowest round ever turned in by a Catamount men's golf squad at the conference tournament, while also ranking as the program's seventh-lowest round all-time.
Sophomore Tyler Lail shot a one-under par, 71, on Monday to move to even-par 144 and sits eighth overall as the second WCU golfer inside the top 10.
WCU paces the field with a two-round score of even-par, 576. Georgia Southern (580) and Chattanooga (581) carded matching rounds of 284 to sit second and third, respectively, with UNCG (585) and Davidson (587) rounding out the top five. Furman (296-303=599), Wofford (306-303=609), Elon (316-294=610), Samford (314-304=618) and (Appalachian State (310-310=620) complete the team standings. Elon had the biggest turnaround from day one, dropping 26 strokes Monday to move up two spots to eighth.
Poston holds an eight-stroke lead over the UNCG duo of Carter Jenkins and Roy Dixon, who are tied for second at two-under par, 142. Jenkins fired a two-under, 70, on Monday, highlighted by an eagle on the par-4 No. 16, while Dixon shot a one-under, 71, recovering nicely after bogeys on his second and third holes of the day.
With a birdie on the par-4 fifth, Poston started his round at one-under par before an eagle on the par-5 eighth left him at three-under at the turn. The Hickory, N.C., product then birdied four of his first five holes on the back nine, and stood at seven-under par with two holes remaining. On the par-3 17th, Poston charted his first bogey of the tournament, finishing the round with a par on No. 18 for his six-under round which matched his career-best round.
Lail countered a pair of bogies with two birdies on the front nine to make the turn at even-par on Monday. He bookended his back nine with birdies, adding a third on the par-5 15th to counter two more bogies to shoot one-under, 71, for a two-day total of even-par in eighth place.
Junior Matthew Turner sits just outside the top 10 in a six-way tie for 11th overall after a second-round, even-par, 72, while redshirt junior Collin Witiak was one-over par in the second round for a two-day total of 150, tied for 20th-place. Turner countered three bogies with four birdies on the front nine to make the turn at one-under par. He quickly moved to three-under for the round after an eagle on the par-5 10th. Turner closed his round with five pars and three bogies to shoot even.
Witiak charted a relatively clean round on the second 18 holes, carding a birdie a side with three total bogies and 13 pars for his one-over, 73, which was four strokes better than his opening day.
Poston and Lail rank first-and-second in the number of birdies carded through 36 holes. WCU also leads all three of the scoring statistical categories as Turner is atop the par-3 scoring (-2, 2.75); Poston in par-4 scoring (-6, 3.70); and Lail in par-5 scoring (-1, 4.25).
Rounding out WCU's scoring five is freshman Nont Panayanggool, who was nine strokes better on Monday to shoot one-over par, 73, for a two-day total of 155 - tied for 39th overall. The rookie was on pace to shoot one-under before a double-bogey on the par-4 18th.
Tuesday's final round opens with golfers teeing off on both the front and back nine beginning at 8:00 am on the front and 8:20 am on the back. Paired with golfers from the closest competitors in the team standings, GSU and UTC, WCU's scoring five is slated to take the course on the front nine beginning at 8:50 am with its scoring five all on the course by 9:30 am.
Live stats can be found at www.golfstatresults.com and will be updated every three holes. The 54-hole tournament will conclude Tuesday, with the team winner and individual medalist earning automatic bids to a NCAA regional.
Additional Catamount Tournament Notes:
* The second round score of 66 turned in today by junior J.T. Poston today matched his career-low round ... It is the second time this year he's shot 66 and the fourth time in his Catamount career;
* Poston's 66 is the lowest round turned in by a Catamount men's golfer at the Southern Conference Men's Golf Championship event ... the previous low was a 67 by Matt Cook back in 2008;
* Western Carolina's team round of 282 is a season-low round in 2013-14 - and the best round shot by a Catamount men's golf team in a SoCon tournament ... Previous was 285 in the second round of the 2009 event;
* Today's round also tied for the seventh-lowest 18-hole round score in program history.