NCAA men's golf championship: USC, Justin Suh in prime position entering Sunday
After two rounds of action at the NCAA men's golf championship, some clarity is coming to the standings. Entering Sunday's final preliminary round -- after which only the top 15 teams will advance -- this is the Pac-12's situation: USC is in excellent shape, Oregon is on the bubble, and Stanford and Arizona State both have work to do to survive team play past the weekend.
Rico Hoey shot four-under par during the second round, sinking birdies on three of four holes on the back nine, to keep USC within the striking distance of the leaders. UNLV is the top team heading into Sunday, while the Trojans are five collective strokes behind the Rebels and in sixth place.
Hoey, Justin Suh, and Cheng Jin all finished under par for USC. Suh remains in individual contention with his solid round; a birdie on the par-5, 525-yard 18th hole to close Saturday's action brought him into a tie for second place, just one stroke behind Texas' Scottie Scheffler for the tournament lead. Suh actually led the field before hitting the water and triple-bogeying the 17th hole.
Uh oh... Indy leader Justin Suh in water at 17 pic.twitter.com/TeldlNY5eP
— Brentley Romine (@GolfweekBRomine) May 27, 2017
Defending national champion Oregon has positioned itself well through the first two rounds of action at Rich Harvest Farms. Following a collective 294 in an opening round that bridged Friday and Saturday because of rain and darkness delays, the Ducks combined to tally a 282 in the second round -- the fourth best score in the entire field. Three Oregon golfers finished under par, including Ryan Gronlund (-4), Wyndham Clark (-3), and Norman Xiong (-1). Clark birdied four holes on the back nine to give the Ducks momentum heading into Sunday.
— Oregon Men's Golf (@OregonMGolf) May 27, 2017
Stanford, seeded No. 2 heading into the championship, dug itself a hole after sputtering on Friday. Saturday saw some stabilization in the Cardinal camp, as star player Maverick McNealy finished one-under after some uncharacteristic bogeys to open his tournament. All of Stanford's other four golfers were within two shots of McNealy, helping push the Cardinal into a tie for 15th place at the day's end. They're in position to advance tomorrow -- but it'll take a solid round of golf.
— Stanford Men's Golf (@StanfordMGolf) May 27, 2017
Arizona State shot decently well through less-than-ideal conditions in Friday's first round -- they finished at a collective 290. Despite better weather Saturday, the Sun Devils finished three strokes worse at 293, dropping them from 17th place to 21st. ASU relies heavily on three talented freshmen, but the downside of youth bit the Sun Devils on Saturday when Blake Wagoner -- one of the youngsters -- reached par on only six holes and finished a miserable day at 14-over. Despite the struggles, the top 15 is still only a few strokes away for this team, so some strong golf on Sunday can punch ASU's ticket. The Sun Devils will count on Wagoner to bounce back.
— ASUmensgolf (@asumensgolf) May 27, 2017