UNLV wanted to get in position to make the top 15 at the men’s golf NCAA Championship, and the Rebels did just that Saturday.
How they got there was another story.
They began by blistering Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Arkansas, with a minus-4 for the second round to go from 23rd to a tie for 10th, but then ran into trouble by giving back eight shots. UNLV steadied itself for the remainder of the afternoon, posting a 4 over par for the day and 26 over for the tournament to move to 16th.
If the Rebels move up one spot Sunday, they will advance to Monday’s final round of stroke play. The top eight teams after Monday qualify for match play.
“We didn’t have any big numbers early, and when we made the turn, we had two (triple bogeys),” UNLV coach Dwaine Knight said. “We were really playing well, and that really hurt us. And they kind of fought back and had a decent finish and made some pars coming in. I thought we played a little better today. It’s still not our best, but they hung in there and fought hard.”
Defending champion Oklahoma State leads at minus-10, 12 shots better than second-place Stanford.
UNLV’s Justin Kim shot 2-under 70, a six-shot improvement over his first round. David Rauch dropped his score by 14 shots with a 71, and Harry Hall carded a 72 for the second day in a row. Jack Trent shot 79 after a 78.
Knight is considering substituting J.J. Gresco, who went 84-82. Alex Jordan, who won the Nevada State Amateur title last year, could replace Gresco.
“How we stay here and advance is really going to be dependent on that fifth spot,” Knight said. “We’re allowed a change now, but I haven’t made my mind up. I’m leaning that way that we’ll substitute a player.”
The Golf Coaches Association of America announced Saturday that Hall was named to the Division I PING all-region teams.