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NCAA regionals: Texas builds lead on Day 2; No. 1 Oklahoma on ropes

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The NCAA Division I men’s golf regionals continued Tuesday at six sites across the country: The Sagamore Club in Noblesville, Indiana; Seminole Legacy Golf Club in Tallahassee, Florida; Championship Course at UNM in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Oklahoma; Golf Club of Tennessee in Kingston Springs, Tennessee; and Tumble Creek Golf and Country Club in Cle Elum, Washington.

The top five teams and the top individual not on advancing teams in each regional move on to the NCAA Championship, which begins May 28 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona.

While five of the regionals still have one round remaining on Wednesday, the Stillwater Regional, in a race to beat inclement weather, completed 54 holes by Tuesday evening. Oklahoma State won and Little Rock rallied late to grab the fifth ticket to nationals, but the big story was Sam Houston State, which placed fourth despite competing with just four players and without its star, Will Holcomb, in the final round because of COVID-19 protocols.

Here is everything else you need to know from Day 2:

Tallahassee Regional

Seminole Legacy GC, Tallahassee, Florida

In position: 1. Florida State (-24), 2. Liberty (-16), 3. Georgia Tech (-13), 4. Georgia (-9), 5. Ohio State (-7)

Chasing: 6. TCU (-3), 7. Kansas (-2), 8. Georgia Southern (E), 9. LSU (+4), 9. Indiana (+4)

Individual leader: Michael Sakane, Jacksonville (-11)

Live scoring

Round of the day: Liberty. Sophomore Jonathan Yaun has a knack for getting hot. On Tuesday, he rattled off five birdies and an eagle to lead the Flames with a 5-under 67. Yaun is now tied for fifth at 6 under along with teammates Kieran Vincent, whose 1-over 73 was the throw-out score in Liberty’s second-round, 11-under 277, which moved the Flames 13 shots clear of sixth place.

Trending the other way: Kansas. The top eight teams on the leaderboard shot under par on Tuesday as Seminole Legacy Club was primed for more birdies in Round 2. The Jayhawks’ 2-under round could’ve been better, though, as they struggled on their final hole of the day, the par-4 ninth. Kansas combined for three bogeys and a double on the hole. Had the Jayhawks played the hole with five pars, they would’ve entered the final round just two back of fifth-place Ohio State. Instead, they are five back through two rounds.

What to watch for Wednesday: While Florida State looks to run away with things on its home golf course, the battle around the cut line should be hotly contested. Ohio State holds the fifth spot at 7 under, but TCU, just four shots back, has already delivered once with its back against the wall this season. The Horned Frogs were near the bubble for qualifying for regionals when they won Arizona State’s event just before the Big 12 Championship. That confidence could prove of value for a young team – four sophomores and a freshman – that has no prior regional experience. TCU, meanwhile, is making its 31st straight regional appearance. Kansas and Georgia Southern are also within seven shots of fifth.

Noblesville Regional

The Sagamore Club, Noblesville, Indiana

In position: 1. Texas (-15), 2. Tennessee (-8), 3. North Carolina (-7), 4. Louisville (-6), 5. North Florida (-3)

Chasing: 6. UNCW (+6), 7. UAB (+8), 8. Arkansas State (+11)

Individual leaders: Nick Infanti, North Forida, and Blake McShea, UNCW (-6)

Live scoring

Round of the day: Texas. The Longhorns extended their lead to seven shots with a 9-under 279 that didn’t include first-round leader Travis Vick’s even-par 72. Junior Cole Hammer fired a bogey-free 68 to move to within a shot of the individual lead while sophomore Mason Nome bounced back from an 8-over finish on his final four holes Monday to shoot 71.

Trending the other way: South Florida. The Bulls, seventh after Day 1, shot 11 over to fall 20 shots back of fifth. South Florida is trying to make its first NCAA Championship appearance since 2016.

What to watch for Wednesday: The top five seeds are opening up a nice cushion on the rest of the field, but Wednesday’s final round could have some player-of-the-year implications. Texas junior Pierceson Coody (T-4) and North Florida freshman Nick Gabrelcik (T-28) are on the short list of Haskins Award favorites, but Hammer, who recently won the Big 12 medal, could insert his name into the conversation with a regional win.

Kingston Springs Regional

GC of Tennessee, Kingston Springs, Tennessee

In position: 1. San Diego State (-11), 2. Vanderbilt (-9), 3. Arkansas (-5), 4. North Carolina State (-3), 5. Clemson (-2), 5. Charlotte (-2)

Chasing: 7. Kent State (-1), 8. Virginia (+3), 9. Houston (+4)

Individual leader: Reid Davenport, Vanderbilt, and Youssef Guezzale, San Diego State (-5)

Live scoring

Round of the day: San Diego State. The Aztecs moved from fourth to first, nine shots clear of fifth, thanks to an 8-under 276. Their top two players, senior Puwit Anupansuebsai (4-under 67) and junior Youssef Guezzale (68), led the way for San Diego State on Day 2. The Aztecs are trying to advance to the NCAA Championship for the first time since 2016, when it beat Texas A&M in a playoff for the last ticket out of the NCAA Albuquerque Regional.

Trending the other way: Kent State. A day after their best round of the season, the Golden Flashes were 13 shots worse on Tuesday and went from a share of the lead to seventh place, a shot out of a two-way tie for fifth.

What to watch for Wednesday: Can Clemson give outgoing head coach Larry Penley one more tournament? The legendary Tigers coach is retiring at the end of this season, and after winning the ACC Championship, Clemson finds itself in a battle just to get to the NCAA Championship. The Tigers were eight shots better on Tuesday as they climbed two spots on the leaderboard and into a tie with Charlotte, who shot 7 under in Round 2. Turk Pettit is the lone Tiger inside the top 10; he’s solo seventh at 3 under after a 2-under 69, a score that was equaled Tuesday by teammate Zack Gordon, who was seven shots better than he was in the first round. Penley is shooting for his 30th NCAA Championship berth, though history isn’t on his side in this case. Clemson played a regional at the Golf Club of Tennessee in 2005 and finished two shots out of qualifying for nationals, snapping what was then a 21-year streak of getting to the NCAA Championship.

Albuquerque Regional

Championship Course at UNM, Albuquerque, New Mexico

In position: 1. Oregon State (-20), 2. Texas Tech (-15), 3. Arizona State (-12), 4. South Carolina (-8), 4. Texas A&M (-8)

Chasing: 6. New Mexico (-5), 6. San Diego (-5), 8. Stanford (-4), 9. Oklahoma (-3), 10. Nevada (+1), 11. Boise State (+4)

Individual leader: Spencer Tibbits, Oregon State (-9)

Live scoring

Rounds of the day: Oregon State and San Diego. The Beavers didn’t crack under the pressure of leading a regional, instead firing 13-under 275 to move five shots clear of the field and 15 shots ahead of sixth place. Senior Spencer Tibbits (6-under 66), the individual leader, and junior Carson Berry (68) led the way on Day 2 for Oregon State, which is aiming for not only its first ever regional title but also its first NCAA Championship berth under head coach Jon Reehoorn. The Beavers last made nationals in 2010 under then coach Brian Watts. Meanwhile, San Diego, the last at-large team into regionals, kept its NCAA Championship hopes alive, shooting 13 under and pulling to within three shots of a two-way tie for fourth between Texas A&M and South Carolina. Cal transfer Jamie Cheatham’s 67 led the Toreros, who are the 11th seed.

Trending the other way: New Mexico. The fifth-seeded Lobos shot 1 under on Tuesday, but on a gettable layout that resulted in the hosts falling three spots into a tie with San Diego for sixth, three shots back of South Carolina and Texas A&M, who share fourth. Bastien Amat’s second-round 66 moved him to T-2 individually, but no other New Mexico player is better than T-35.

What to watch for Wednesday: The Albuquerque Regional could potentially mark the end of the season for the defending NCAA champion (Stanford) and the current top-ranked team in the country (Oklahoma). The Cardinal, who are playing without top players Henry Shimp and Barclay Brown because of COVID-19 protocols, sit in eighth place, four shots back of that tie for fourth, while the Sooners are one shot worse in ninth despite senior Jonathan Brightwell being 8 under and tied for second individually. Stanford is trying to avoid its first missed NCAA Championship since 2013. Oklahoma has made nine straight NCAA Championship appearances, winning it all in 2017 and only missing one in head coach Ryan Hybl’s Sooners career.

Cle Elum Regional

Tumble Creek G&CC, Cle Elum, Washington

In position: 1. East Tennessee State (-18), 2. San Francisco (-7), 3. Washington (-6), 4. Wake Forest (-3), 5. Pepperdine (E), 5. Utah (E)

Chasing: 7. Denver (+2), 8. Florida (+6), 9. Oregon (+7)

Individual leader: Archie Davies, East Tennessee State (-11)

Live scoring

Round of the day: East Tennessee State. Spurred by freshman Archie Davies’ course-record, 8-under 63, the Bucs fired a 14-under 270 to move 11 shots clear of second-place San Francisco. Davies, the SoCon individual champion, leads individually by four shots and is one of three ETSU players at sixth or better along with Shiso Go (fifth) and Trevor Hulbert (sixth).

Trending the other way: Pepperdine. The Waves were ranked No. 1 in Golfstat when last season was canceled because of the pandemic, but they have arguably underperformed this season, not even securing a No. 1 seed. To be fair, Pepperdine is still very much alive, but it certainly wasn’t expecting its top-ranked player Dylan Menante to be 10 over through 36 holes. Menante shot 76 and the Waves had to count a 75 by Joe Highsmith as part of their second-round, 5-over 289, which has them deadlocked with Utah for the fifth and final spot.

What to watch for Wednesday: While the Albuquerque Regional may end up having the most volatility, the Cle Elum Regional isn’t far behind. Nos. 7, 8 and 9 seeds are currently in position to make it through while No. 4 Arizona needs a final-round miracle, No. 3 Florida still has some work to do and Nos. 1 and 2, Wake Forest and Pepperdine, aren’t out of the woods yet. The Gators, who shot 6 over on Tuesday, have gotten nothing outside of star Ricky Castillo (T-10), while the Demon Deacons, who carded 3 over, are only three shots better than Pepperdine and Utah despite Alex Fitzpatrick sitting in second individually.