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Team leader: Stanford (2-under 558)
Individual leader: Patrick Rodgers, Stanford (7-under 133)
In position: 2. Oklahoma (567) 3. Oregon (569) 4. South Carolina (579), T-5. North Florida (583), T-5. Houston (583).
Chasing: 7. Chattanooga (587), 8. East Tennessee State (589), 9. Tennessee (591), 10. Liberty (592).
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Ducks are wild
The host Oregon Ducks took a big step toward playing in the NCAA Championship after a second-round 280 Friday at the NCAA Eugene (Ore.) Regional at Eugene Country Club.
Sitting on the bubble in fifth position at 9 over after the first day, the Ducks were one of only five teams to improve upon their first-round total but were the only team at par or better for Friday’s second round.
“What I’ve been saying all week, just play golf,” Oregon coach Casey Martin said. “Don’t try to do anything different other than respect the pins and respect the golf course, but we play here two to three times a week; just go play golf like you’re having fun. If we can just keep that mentality instead of making it too big a deal, I think we’ll do fine.”
Zach Foushee, a sophomore, led the Ducks on Friday with a 2-under 68. At 1 under overall, the West Linn, Ore., product is tied with Chattanooga’s Chris Robb and Stanford’s Cameron Wilson for second place, six shots back of Stanford’s Patrick Rodgers.
“I’ve played this course so many times with my buddies,” Foushee said after a round that included six birdies. “I just kind of imagine myself out there with my teammates, just playing golf.”
With one round left, Oregon and Foushee know that Saturday is crucial if the Ducks hope to return to the NCAA Championship for the first time since 2012.
“I think today was a big day. It was kind of moving day for us,” Foushee said. “We’ve still got to finish it off tomorrow.”
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Stanford survives scare
Stanford started the second round with a four-shot lead over Oklahoma, but that advantage quickly evaporated in the middle of the front nine as the Sooners briefly took the lead from the top-seeded Cardinal.
For a while, the two teams would trade positions. But then order was restored and Stanford pulled away, finishing with a second-round 2-over 282 and a seven-shot lead over the Sooners.
“I’m really proud of my guys,” Oklahoma coach Ryan Hybl said. “I thought we played really well as a team. I’m excited about what we did today as a team, and hopefully we will just come out with the same game plan tomorrow and come out and try to compete for a championship.”
If Oklahoma were to finish in the top 5, it would mark the fourth consecutive year that the Sooners made it to the NCAA Championship.
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Rodgers continues to roll
Stanford’s Patrick Rodgers separated himself further from the field on Friday, shooting a 3-under 67 and moving to 7 under for a six-shot lead over Oregon’s Zach Foushee (68), Chattanooga’s Chris Robb (72) and Stanford’s Cameron Wilson (68).
“I played better today. That was a good clean solid round,” said Rodgers, who made four birdies and one bogey Friday. “Struck the ball much better today, hit a lot of greens and my touch was good on the greens, so a lot of easy pars.”
Ranked No.1 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, Rodgers has few goals left before turning pro after the NCAA Championship, but one is to tie Tiger Woods’ school record of 11 tournament victories in a career. (Rodgers, from Avon, Ind., is in his third college season; Woods set the Stanford mark in two seasons.) If Rodgers were to win Saturday, he would have one event, the NCAA Championship, to eclipse Woods’ mark.
“I just need to stick to my routine. I need to focus on what I can control,” Rodgers said. “That’s managing my golf ball around this golf course, and that’s a difficult task enough so I’ll have my hands full just trying to make good decisions and leave it in the right spots.”
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Oklahoma’s Charlie Saxon had quite the reversal of fortunes. On the par-3 fifth hole, Saxon made a triple-bogey 6, but then on the difficult par-5 sixth hole, he poured in a 40-footer for eagle. Saxon, a junior from Tulsa, Okla., shot his second consecutive 71 and is tied for 10th. . . . With tricky pins and greens running at 14.4 on the Stimpmeter, Eugene Country Club played just more than a stroke harder Friday than in Thursday’s opening round. “We play a golf course, a par 72, and it doesn’t bite like it does now,” Martin said of the Ducks’ home course. “Now it really bites. I mean, bites as far as has that edge to it. It’s really fun. My guys are really enjoying it. They’ve made numerous mention that this is so much fun. It’s a little stressful on the coaches.” . . . Rodgers leads the field in par-4 scoring at 3.83 and is 4 under on the par 4s through two rounds.