Huskies Poised For Breakthrough, Lead After Two Rounds Of Fighting Irish Classic
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The Washington men's golf team got contributions from everyone in the lineup on Monday at the Fighting Irish Classic and are in first place out of 14 teams after two rounds of action at Warren Golf Course on the campus of Notre Dame University.
The Huskies are poised for their breakthrough win of the fall after they followed an opening round of 11-under 269 with a 2-under 278 in the afternoon. Their score of -13 (547) is seven shots better than host Notre Dame, who are second after rounds of -7 (273) and +1 (281). Utah is third at -5 and Kent State is the only other team under par at -3.
Tuesday's final round will be the second time this season the Huskies have entered the final 18 holes with a lead. At the Husky Invitational, they held a 14-stroke advantage entering the final round, but stumbled and had to settle for a tie for first. UW coach Alan Murray hopes that experience from two weeks ago will help push them across the finish line with a better result.
"Golf has a funny way of throwing the same puzzle your way in quick succession," Murray said. "We had a lead at the Husky Invitational heading into the final round and we didn't finish the job. And now we find ourselves in a similar position.
"We will be ready for battle tomorrow as we know Notre Dame are going to be really strong opponents on their own turf. Winning in golf is always tough as you have to compete against yourself, as well as your opponent."
UW has plenty of battle-tested experience at the to the top of the individual leaderboard, as their fifth-year senior duo of RJ Manke and Noah Woolsey are carrying the torch for the Huskies after 36 holes. The pair are tied with two other golfers for the tournament lead at -6 (134).
"It was a great effort by all the guys today, they played some really excellent golf, but it was highlighted by the fine play of Noah and RJ, who are tied for the lead," Murray said. "They were very impressive today."
Manke, who has two runner-up finishes and a third place under his belt this fall, will enter the final round in the lead or tied for the lead for the third time this year. He fired a pair of 3-under 67s at the par-70 course. His first-round 67 left him in a tie for fourth, but his duplicate round in the afternoon was good enough to thrust him to the top of the leaderboard.
Woolsey opened the morning with a 66 – good enough for second overall among individuals – that was highlighted with an eagle on the front nine, accompanied by eight pars. He would bogey the 10th hole for his only blemish in the morning but atoned with birdies on three of the final four holes. Woolsey stayed hot and converted five birdies on the front nine of his afternoon round to get to -9, but he would bogey four holes and convert one birdie on the back to finish with a second-round 68.
Petr Hruby set the tone for the Huskies in the morning, scoring birdie on three of his first four holes. He would go 1-over the rest of his round and shoot an opening 2-under 68. He followed that up with an even-par 70 in the afternoon and sits tied for ninth at -2.
"Petr continued his really fine form and played two solid rounds," Murray said. "He is stepping up to the plate here."
Taehoon Song shot an opening round 2-under 68 and Teddy Lin shot a 3-over 73 in the afternoon to each contribute a counting round during the day. Song is tied for 24th at +2 (68-74=142) and Lin is tied for 41st at +5 (72-73=145).
"Taehoon was super in the morning and Teddy finished really well over his last few holes today to save the team a shot and count in round two," Murray said.
"It was a great team effort."
Freshman Aidan O'Hagan is competing as an individual and shot 76-74=150 (+10) and is tied for 65th.
"Our guys have a nice energy and spirt to them," Murray continued. "I am excited to see us compete tomorrow."
|T1||RJ Manke (1)||67||67||134|
|T1||Noah Woolsey (2)||66||68||134|
|T9||Petr Hruby (3)||68||70||138|
|T24||Taehoon Song (4)||68||74||142|
|T41||Chuan-Tai Lin (5)||72||73||145|