EDMOND, Okla. – After a slow start in Monday’s second round, the Charlotte 49ers golf team wound up improving 10 shots to fire a one-over 281, climbing into second place overall, heading into the final round of the 2014 Conference USA Championships on Tuesday morning. The Niners, led by Raoul Menard who is tied for fifth overall, are just three shots back on Tulsa and one shot ahead of nationally-ranked UAB.
“I’m really proud of these guys and the way they played today,” commented Head Coach Ryan Cabbage. “We did not get off to the best of starts through nine holes, but the guys really hung in there and played well on the back nine which is a pretty tough stretch of holes.”
For the second-straight day, Menard would start his day with a birdie three before finding himself three-over after his front nine was complete. Menard quickly turned things around on the back nine with three birdies on 11, 16 and 17 with six others pars posting a three-under 32 to balance at 70. Menard has drained seven birdies over his first two trips around the 6,861-yard, par 70 layout of the Oak Tree Country Club. The one shot improvement from Sunday to Monday puts Menard tied for fifth, just four shots off the individual lead, heading into Tuesday.
Franco Castro and Riley Davenport each climbed nine and 13 spots respectively to stand tied for 15th after round two. Castro carded a one-over 71 on Tuesday starting smoothly with a birdie and six pars over the first seven played. After back-to-back bogies ended Castro’s front nine, one shot would immediately come right back to start the back nine with a birdie on 10. Remaining even on the day through 15, Castro’s final slip up would be a bogey on the par-4 16th before ending with two-straight pars.
Davenport settled down after a back-and-forth start early on to post a birdie on 10 before eight-straight pars to end his day. Davenport would start with a bogey on his opening hole #1 before trading two-straight birdies with two-straight bogies on holes three through six. One final birdie-bogey exchange would happen on seven and nine before Davenport settled down for his one-under 34 on the back nine.
Seth Gandy made the biggest improvement jump of the day climbing 14 spots after recording an even-par 70 on Monday afternoon. After a rough start to the tournament with an 80 on Sunday, Gandy erased an early bogey on Monday with a birdie on the par-5 fourth to get back to even par on the day. Finding himself two-over after back-to-back dropped shots on six and seven, Gandy would get both of those shots back on 12 and 13 to finish at even-par for the round.
Thomas Rowland would round out Charlotte’s scoring on the day rolling through an up-and-down round of even par golf through his first 12 holes. Rowland mixed in a pair of birdies around four bogies on the front nine and get back to even with an eagle three on the par-5 12th. Rowland is just one of five golfers to post an eagle with the tough conditions faced in Oklahoma. Rowland would struggle to the Monday finish line losing six shots in a four-hole span to conclude with his round of 76.
“As I mentioned before the tournament started, it is very important to remain patient and maintain your composure on this golf course,” continued Cabbage. “The guys did a fantastic job of that today.”
Tulsa leads the field for the second-straight day improving seven shots overall after Monday with a team total of 569 to lead the Niners by three. #18 UAB improved seven shots to stand one back of Charlotte, four back of Tulsa heading into Tuesday’s finale. All three schools will be paired with each other for the final round starting off of hole #1. Gandy will lead off the Niner tee times at 8:45 a.m. local time(9:45 a.m. eastern) followed by Rowland, Davenport, Castro and Menard every nine minutes from there.
Live scoring for the final round and all up-to-date stats through the first two rounds can be found by clicking HERE.