Taylor's 66 Helps Huskies Move To Sixth At NCAA Championships
May 29, 2008
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Sophomore Nick Taylor shot a scorching 6-under 66 to help Washington move up to sixth place after the second round of the NCAA Div. I Men's Golf Championships hosted by Purdue at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex, Thursday.
Taylor's 66, which also equaled his career and season-lows, was the best individual 18-hole effort by any of the 156 individuals competing in the tournament thus far. Taylor's stellar second round score moved him into third place on the individual leaderboard at 3-under 141, just two shots behind the leader Billy Horschel of Florida (5-under 139) and two shots behind Clemson's Kyle Stanley (4-under 140).
With Taylor's help, Washington fired a second-round team total of 2-over 290 - the third best team effort of the day behind only Clemson and Stanford who both shot even-par 288. The Huskies, seeded 22nd in the tournament, started the day in ninth place. They are 19-over 595 heading into Friday's third round.
With the Huskies opening play from the 10th tee in the afternoon wave, Taylor birdied five of the first nine holes and then after making the turn, birdied holes one and two to sit as low as 7-under. At that point he flirted with the Kampen Course record of 63, but surrendered a shot when he bogied the par-three fifth hole. Taylor finished out the round with four-straight pars.
'Talking to guys on the team, anything in the 60's would have been really good and if someone shot that I'd be impressed,' Taylor said after being asked if he thought a 66 was possible on such a difficult course. 'Especially yesterday when (Kevin) Chappell (of UCLA) shot it (69), that was really impressive. I did not expect it, but once I started going I tried to keep on going for it.'
Taylor's 66 during Thursday's second round was a nine-shot improvement upon his opening round effort of 3-over 75. But the effort was only watched via live scoring by Husky head coach Matt Thurmond.
'I didn't watch any of it so I can't claim any credit for it,' Thurmond said after the second round was in the books. 'I saw he was doing well early and I didn't want to mess him up. I've been a part of some great rounds in the past with some of our players and I know to just stay away from them. I was watching it closely on my handheld. I heard early that he was 4-under and Garrett (Clegg, assistant coach) said he wasn't even hitting it that well. And then he hit it to about two feet on one and almost holed it on two, so I thought well he must be hitting it better now. This course sets it up so good for him. He hits it so straight that it didn't surprise me.'
As a team, the Huskies second round effort was a 15-stroke improvement upon their first round performance and they remain in striking distance of winning their first ever NCAA title. At 19-over 595, Washington is six strokes behind leader Clemson (13-over 589). UCLA is second at 14-over 590, with USC third at 15-over 591. Washington's best ever NCAA finish was a third-place effort in 2005.
Taylor wasn't the only UW player to have a strong round. Freshman Tze Huang Choo made the greatest improvement in between rounds. Choo shot even-par 72 after carding a 12-over 84 on Wednesday. Choo is tied for 96th with UW junior John Wise at 12-over 156. Wise shot a 7-over 79 in the second round.
Senior Zach Bixler, who started the day in a tie for 10th place on the individual leaderboard, fell back into a tie for 32nd with today's 4-over 76. Bixler had an up and down day with four double bogies, five birdies and an eagle on the par-5 sixth hole. Bixler is 6-over 150 overall.
Sophomore Darren Wallace also shot a 4-over 76 and is tied for 85th (11-over 155).
The Huskies will continue NCAA Championship play with third round action Friday. UW will start from the 10th tee at 7:20 a.m. EST with Florida and Oklahoma State. Third round team pairings are based on standings after 36 holes, with the higher teams teeing off during the morning round. The 30-team field will then be cut to 15 for Saturday's final round.
2008 NCAA DIVISION I MEN'S GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS
Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex; West Lafayette, Ind.
Par 72; 7,450 yards
Second Round Leaderboard - Top 15 Teams
1. Clemson 301-288-589 (+13)
2. UCLA 297-293-590 (+14)
3. Southern California 297-294-591 (+15)
4. Florida 302-291-593 (+17)
5. Oklahoma State 298-296-594 (+18)
6. Washington 305-290-595 (+19)
7. Georgia 303-293-596 (+20)
8. Stanford 309-288-597 (+21)
9. Kent State 301-297-598 (+22)
10. Charlotte 306-295-601 (+25)
11. Middle Tennessee State 309-293-602 (+26)
12. Texas A&M 309-294-603 (+27)
13. Arizona State 311-293-604 (+28)
13. Illinois 302-302-604 (+28)
15. Alabama 309-297-606 (+30)
Second Round - Top Five Individuals
1. Billy Horschel, Florida 72-67-139 (-5)
2. Kyle Stanley, Clemson 72-68-140 (-4)
3. Nick Taylor, Washington 75-66-141 (-3)
4. Hudson Swafford, Georgia 73-69-142 (-2)
4. Kevin Chappell, UCLA 69-73-142 (-2)