PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. – Campbell posted the low round in the men’s division of the Golfweek Program Challenge to share the 36-hole lead. The Camels recorded a 10-under 278 and share the lead with Jacksonville State at 21-under 555.
The leaderboard is tight at True Blue Golf Course, with four teams within six shots of the lead. South Florida, under second-year head coach Chris Malloy, is just two shots back at 19-under (557), and East Carolina is in fourth place at 15-under (561).
“We shoot even-par or a couple under and we are going to get lapped,” Campbell assistant men’s and women’s coach Tim Crooks said. “We need to get off to a good start, because both days we have gotten off to a really slow start. But it should be really interesting and l’m looking forward to seeing it. It’s good for college golf to see some red numbers, and I don’t think we see enough of that.”
Continuing to lead the way for Campbell is freshman Andrew Gai. Gai, who carded an 8-under 64 to open the tournament, shot 69 in the second round to lead individually by a single shot over Jacksonville State’s Tomasz Anderson.
“I did not predict a score for him today, but anything around par would be good to back it up,” Crooks said. “He has already exceeded our expectations for first two rounds, without a doubt.”
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After leading by five strokes after the first day, East Carolina now holds a one-shot lead over James Madison in the women’s division of the Golfweek Program Challenge. James Madison posted the best round of the day, a 6-over 290, to close the gap on the Pirates.
“I am real proud of the girls,” said James Madison coach Paul Gooden, who has been coaching men’s or women’s golf at James Madison since the 1995-96 season. “We are glad to be in position and excited about tomorrow and really excited about the year and where we are at with our women’s program at JMU.”
Individually, the demanding Caledonia Golf & Fish Club layout is providing a great test. James Madison’s Nicole Sakamoto recorded an even-par 71 to go along with an opening-round 69 to lead individually at 2-under 140 on the 6,003-yard, par-71 layout. Sakamoto, a senior, has a two-shot cushion over Valdis Jonsdottir of Texas State and Christina Miller of South Florida.
Sakamoto is coming off an outstanding summer in which she won the Hawaii stroke play and match play championship.
“We do a lot of pin-sheet work and try to teach them how to use their yardage books, and Nicole’s course management is terrific,” said Gooden. “But the biggest thing is her maturity.”
Playing only her second collegiate round, Campbell freshman Lisbeth Brooks shot a tournament-low 4-under 67. Brooks, a freshman from Waunakee, Wisc., was bogey-free through 17 holes and had a look at 65. However, her 15-foot birdie attempt slid past the hole, resulting in a three-putt and her only blemish on the scorecard. Brooks vaulted up the leaderboard, from a tie for 41st place to a tie for seventh, and is just five shots off the lead.
In the race for the Golfweek Challenge Program trophy, East Carolina holds a one-shot lead over Campbell. The Pirates are at 3 under, while the Camels check in a 2 under.