Chung sparks Stanford at chilly USCC
ALPHARETTA, Ga. – The Golf Club of Georgia is a southeastern golf course that was played in northern weather conditions Monday. And to add a full national flavor, a West Coast team is leading the pack after two rounds of the U.S. Collegiate Championship.
The course can be challenging test even under perfect weather conditions, but it became a real monster when temperatures stayed in the mid 40s, the wind blew between 20-25 mph, and rain fell from time to time.
When the day ended, Stanford led after a 2-over 290 for a 3-over 579 total.
Tuesday’s final round is expected to experience similar conditions. Snow is also a possibility.
The Cardinal, who won the 2007 NCAA and was runner-up last season, was four shots better than Texas A&M, which jumped nine spots in the standings after a second-round best 1-under 287. The Aggies were the only team to post a score at par or better.
Washington, which got it to 5 under early, finished at 10-over 298 and is third, two shots better than Georgia, the No. 1 team in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings. Defending NCAA champion UCLA is fifth.
First-round leader Clemson followed its opening 5-under 283 with a 309 and dropped into a tie for sixth.
UCLA senior Erik Flores followed his first-round leading 65 with a 2-over 74, including bogeys on his final two holes, to share the lead with Alabama freshman Bud Cauley, who shot 69. They stand at 5-under 139.
Stanford’s Steve Ziegler and David Chung are at 3-under 141 while Clemson’s David May is another shot back at 142. Texas A&M’s Bronson Burgoon is the only other player under par at 143.
“It was brutal out there, that’s about all you can say,” Stanford coach Conrad Ray said. “It just kept getting colder and when it started drizzling it was as tough as it gets.
“I’m proud of our guys. They did a very good job of being patient under some severe conditions,” Ray said. “I think the key for us was keeping the ball out of the water on the par 3s. And, when you have one guy get a hot hand it can do wonders.”
That one guy for Stanford on this day was the freshman Chung, who, considering the conditions, shot an amazing 6-under 66. That came after an opening 75.
“The big thing for David today was he kept the ball in the fairway,” Ray said. “He made some good putts and was able to capitalize on his opportunities.”
In notching his lowest college round, Chung made seven birdies against a lone bogey.
“When we came out here this morning I thought even par would be a great score today considering the tough conditions,” Chung said. “Days like this are all about grinding, focusing 100 percent on every shot and never giving up.”
After making the turn in 3 under, Chung birdied Nos. 11, 14, and 15, then made two par saves at 16 (10-foot putt) and 17 (12-foot putt after a bunker shot).
Flores struggled. He made bogey at Nos. 1 and 3, a birdie at 5, and bogey at 8.
His highlight came after hitting a 3-wood from 259 yards into the 540-yard par-5 ninth hole. His ball came within seven inches of making double eagle.
Back to even par on the day and still 7 under for the tournament, he held a two-shot lead until two closing bogeys.
“It was pretty demanding out there today,” Flores said. “The hardest part was putting. The greens were quicker and the pins tougher. The short (putts) were more grinding.
“I’m still confident in my ball striking and definitely feel I left a few strokes out there today,” he said. “I just need to be patient and come out tomorrow and do the same things I’ve been doing the last couple of days. If I make a few putts, I’ll be just fine.”