April 22, 2013
Daniel Island, S.C. - Western Carolina shot 20 strokes better in Monday's second of the 2013 Southern Conference Men's Golf Championship, carding a team 304 to move into ninth place in the tournament field at the Daniel Island Club's par-72, 7,446-yard Ralston Creek Course. Through 36 holes, WCU has carded a team 628 entering Tuesday's final round.
After wind gusts around 25 mph for much of Sunday, the calmer weather Monday was reflected in the scores, as each team dropped at least three strokes from its first round. WCU was one of three teams to shave at least 20 strokes off their opening rounds.
Sophomore J.T. Poston carded a two-over par 74 on Monday to advance three positions into a three-way tie for 25th overall. The Hickory, N.C., native birdied the par-5 third and played the first four holes at one-under before scoring bogey on two of the final five holes, making the turn at one-over par. Poston also carded one-over par on the back nine to finish six strokes better than Sunday.
Combined, Poston carded 14 pars on Monday to give him 22 on the tournament with a two-day score of 154.
WCU senior Steven Smith carved five strokes off his opening round, shooting three-over 75 on Monday to stand in a tie for 28th overall. Smith countered three bogies on his front nine with a birdie on the par-5 No. 6, making the turn at two-over par. The Kirknewton, Scotland, product matched Poston by shooting one-over par on the back nine and is a stroke in arrears at 155 through 36 holes.
Jack Walsh moved up two positions into a tie for 34th in the standings after shooting four-over par 76 for a two-round tally of 157, with Collin Witiak (47th-t, 83-79=162) and Greg Bunner (47th-t, 83-84=167) rounding out WCU's scoring five.
Walsh had five bogies with one birdie on Monday with Witiak making the turn at one-over par, countering two bogies with a birdie on the par-5 No. 3. However, Witiak struggled with six bogies on the back nine to finish at seven-over par, 79. Bunner had six bogies with three holes of double-bogey or worse on his back nine to finish at 12-over, 84.
Chattanooga senior Steven Fox shot a one-under par 71 Monday to move atop the individual leader board, while the Mocs shot two-over, 290, collectively as a team to assume the top spot. Fox entered the day one stroke back of Davidson's Todd Eckstein, and the duo, playing in the final threesome of the day, went toe-to-toe for much of the afternoon. After both of them cruised through the front nine - Fox at 3-under and Eckstein at 2-under - Fox played the back nine at 2-over and Eckstein played it at 4-over to put some distance between the two.
Fox ended the day at 1-under 143 for the tournament, while Eckstein finished at 1-over 145, two shots back.
As a team, the Mocs - who rank 48th in the country according to GolfStat - have four individuals in the top 10, with Davis Bunn (77-72=149) tied for eighth at 5-over and Chris Robb (74-76=150) tied for 10th at 6-over. Chattanooga is at 12-over 588 (298-290) entering Tuesday's final round.
Davidson, which entered play Monday with a one-shot lead over the Mocs, now trails Chattanooga by three strokes despite having three individuals of its own in the top 10. The Wildcats are at 15-over 591 (297-294). College of Charleston in third place at 600 (309-291), nine shots back of the Wildcats and 12 in arrears of the Mocs.
Appalachian State follows in fourth (305-298=603), with Elon in fifth (312-295=607) and Georgia Southern in sixth (315-293=608). Samford follows in seventh at 612 (314-298) and UNCG is in eighth at 613 (315-298). WCU is ninth in the team standings (324-304=628), followed by Furman (320-309=629) and Wofford (332-305=637).
Tuesday's final round will see teams teeing off on Nos. 1 and 10. The first tee times are off No. 1 at 9:00 am, while the first to go off No. 10 will be at 9:20 am. Paired with golfers from UNCG and Samford, WCU opens its final round at 10:10 am on the back nine while leaders Chattanooga, Davidson and College of Charleston will go off No. 1 at 9:50 am.