May 20, 2011
TUCSON, Ariz. - The Texas A&M men's golf team carded its second straight sub-par round on Friday and sits in third place with 18 holes to play at the NCAA Arizona Regional at Omni Tucson National Golf Resort.
The Aggies (281-282=563) are at 5-under after two rounds, trailing only San Diego State (-12) and host Arizona (-7) and in position to earn a berth in the NCAA Championships. A&M, however, is only two shots ahead of the fifth and final qualifying place, currently shared by California and Washington (-3). Pepperdine (-4) sits in fourth.
"We're in a good place, but we need to treat tomorrow like we would any other tournament and try to win it," head coach J.T. Higgins said. "We have eight shots on San Diego State that we need to make up, and we're capable of doing that. We're playing with them and have a great opportunity. We pride ourselves on finishing strong, and if we have a great final round we're going to Stillwater."
Texas Tech (+1) is in seventh, followed by Oregon State (+1), Liberty (+4), UC Davis (+6), UT Arlington (+14), Army (+23), Purdue (+23) and Loyola-Maryland (+40).
Once again, A&M showed improvement on the back nine, going 4-under after shooting a 2-over through the first nine holes.
"You have to be really patient on this course, and I mean that in a different way," Higgins said. "You need to realize that if you're under or even par heading into the back nine you have a chance for a great round. If you give up a few shots on the front, you have to stay positive, wait and know that you can make them up on the back, and that's hard to do. But we'll get those shots tomorrow. All you can do is go out and play the round better tomorrow than you did today."
Sophomore Cameron Peck led the Aggies on Friday with a 4-under 67, carding a round that included no bogeys and four birdies. Peck (70-67=137) is in third place at 5-under for the tournament, two shots back of the lead.
Senior Nacho Elvira (73-71=144) is at 2-over and in a tie for 30th, while junior Jordan Russell (69-76=145) and senior John Hurley (69-76=145) share 35th at 3-over. Senior Conrad Shinder had a strong 3-under 68 on Friday, highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 10th hole. Shindler (+7) is in 58th overall.
"Cam, Connie and Nacho played really good golf today," Higgins said. "We needed all we could get. For them to shoot a combined 7-under was great. Jordan and John were off a bit and not making a lot of putts, but they're both great players and they'll come back tomorrow."
The final round will get underway on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. (CDT). The Aggies will be paired in the top group with SDSU and Arizona. The top five teams and top individual not on a qualifying team will advance to the NCAA Championships at Karsten Creek in Stillwater May 31-June 5. Live scoring from Tucson will be available on golfstat.com.