Senior ignites UNLV climb at Masters event

Jeremiah Wooding knew he was running out of chances.

On Saturday at Southern Highlands, the UNLV senior golfer led the Rebels with a 2-under-par 70 as they attempted to claw their way into contention at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters.

The Rebels are tied for seventh with Duke after posting a 5-over 293 in the second round, 28 shots behind California, which overtook first-round leader Texas A&M by shooting a 12-under 275.

"Being the only senior and this being my last go-round, I wanted to put up a good number and help the guys," said Wooding, who is tied for 15th among individuals at 3-over 147. "I did the same things (Saturday) I did (Friday), only better. I kept it in the fairway, and I putted well."

Wooding had five birdies and three bogeys. He said the key was not making double bogey, or worse.

"Doubles are what kills you," he said. "I think I did a good job of managing my game. You’re going to make bogeys on this course. You just don’t want to make it any worse."

UNLV coach Dwaine Knight was happy to see Wooding step up.

"We always had such high hopes for J.W.," Knight said. "But guys sort of have to find their own way. You never know what their timetable for development is.

"Wooding’s always had the talent to play well at this level, and we’re seeing that this weekend. He’s a more confident player, and that probably has to do with being a senior and knowing what to expect."

The rest of UNLV’s lineup saw Colby Smith finish at par 72, Derek Ernst at 75 and Blake Biddle at 76.

Rebels sophomore Kevin Penner shot 77. He said he was feeling much better Saturday after having to withdraw from Friday’s first round after four holes following a bout of food poisoning Thursday night.

"I got everything out of me," Penner said. "I just didn’t start well (Saturday)."

Today’s final round will begin at 8 a.m.

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter @stevecarprj.

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