Illinois, Alabama tied atop Central regional
Team Leaders: Illinois, Alabama, 6-under 562
Individual leader: Scott Langley, Illinois, 5-under 137
In position (the next four): 3. Michigan (566), 4. Iowa (574), 5. Stanford (576), 6. Charlotte (583)
Chasing (still work to do): 7. Tennessee (584), 8. Florida State (586), 9. Indiana (588), 10. Memphis (589)
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Langley rounding into form: There must be something about big stages that gets Illinois’ Scott Langley going.
The defending national champion, who entered the regionals ranked No. 51 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, leads by two after Round 2 of the Central Regional at Wolf Run. Langley, who tied for low amateur honors at the 2010 U.S. Open and was a quarterfinalist at last year’s U.S. Amateur, is the only player to break 70 in both rounds (68-69).
“I love playing this time of year,” said Langley, who made the turn in even-par 35. He made double bogey at No. 12, hitting his tee shot in a hazard, but closed with birdies at Nos. 13, 16, 17 and 18. “You try to treat it like any other tournament. It just so happens that I’ve been working really hard on my game lately. All year, I’ve had a tough time taking it to the golf course and I still didn’t have my best game today, but I was pleased with the way I hung in there and made some putts finished 4 under through the last six.”
It looked like Langley would be entering Saturday’s final round in second place behind Alabama’s Bud Cauley, but Cauley made double bogey at the finishing hole, dropping him to 3-under (T-2). Cauley hit his second shot in the thick rough right of the 18th green and hit his ensuing shot over the green into more thick rough, ultimately going on to shoot 71.
The second-seeded Illini are also tied for the team lead with top-seeded Alabama.
“Winning a regional is a big goal of ours, but I think our confidence is in a pretty good spot no matter what happens tomorrow,” Langley said.
Last spot hopefuls: Tenth-seeded Charlotte is currently the “first team out,” sitting sixth after moving up the leaderboard Friday with a 4-over 288, which tied for the third-lowest round of the day. Olafur Loftsson (T-18) leads the 49ers, which began Round 2 in 10th place. The top five teams from each regional advance to the NCAA Championship.
Led by U.S. Amateur runner-up David Chung, Stanford is sitting in the fifth and final qualifying spot. The Cardinal is only two shots behind fourth-place Iowa.
Short shots: Michigan has two players in the top 10, as Joey Garber fired 68 to move into a tie for second and defending U.S. Public Links Champion Lion Kim is tied for sixth. Meanwhile, Matt Thompson, who was among a seven-way tie for the lead after Round 1, shot 77 to fall to T-23 . . . Chris Brant leads Iowa, sitting in a tie for second at 3 under.
– D.J. Piehowski