ANDERSON, S.C. – An eight-stroke improvement through the second round of play helped push the No. 20 Eagles into the top spot on the leaderboard on Monday at the South Atlantic Conference Championship.
The Eagles, currently seventh in the NCAA Southeast Regional Rankings, stand at 15-over in the event after shooting a +5 score of 293 in the second round. They hold a 591 total heading into the final round. The team moved into the top spot for Par 4 scoring with a +12 average of 4.12. They are second on Par 3s with a 3.28 average and have shot even on 110 holes, the second-most in the field.
One stroke behind them on the leaderboard is eighth-ranked Newberry at second place. The Wolves shot a +2 round of 290 on Monday while Wingate's 291 pushed the Bulldogs into third.
"Played solid today to get the lead but will have to play better tomorrow to win it," head coach Randy Wylie said of his team. "This course is really tricky; made too many mistakes.
"Overall, as a team, we showed a lot of toughness today overcoming adversity, including Jake [Headrick] playing through an injured shoulder."
Tom Forster (Oundle, England) shot even for par on the entire course in the second round with a trio of birdies and bogeys each. Despite shooting one shot higher on Monday than his opening round score, the sophomore remains at fourth on the leaderboard heading into the final round with a 143 total.
He also sits at second in the field for Par 4 shooting with a one-under average of 3.95 on such holes.
Three strokes behind Forster heading into Tuesday is Anthony Marcinelli (Knoxville, Tenn.) who remains at +2 in the championship after shooting an even 72 on Monday to move into ninth in the field. The junior and newly crowned Elite 20 honoree in the SAC for men's golf shot a pair of birdies and bogeys in the front nine before shooting two birdies early in the back nine. Those birdies were quickly overshadowed by a triple bogey on 15 that he was able to even back out with a follow-up birdie on the 16th.
Marcinelli is tied for second in the field with Lincoln Memorial's Brady Davis in Par 3 shooting with a one-under average of 2.88. Marcinelli's five birdies on Monday also tied him for the most in the second round of play.
Playing through a sore shoulder for the second day of the tournament, Jake Headrick (Maryville, Tenn.) improved his score by four strokes for a 74 to land in a tie for 20th with a total of 152 through two rounds. He was even for all but one hole in the front nine, shooting a bogey on the fourth. In the back half, he carded a pair of bogey early before ending his day with a birdie on 18.
Headrick and Marcinelli were the best Par 4 golfers in the field on Monday as they shot one-under on such holes for a 3.90 average.
Alongside Headrick in the tie for 20th is Jackson Tyler (Wilmington, N.C.) also with a 152 total. The freshman was two shots higher on Monday also shooting for even in all but one hole in the front nine. The final nine holes of the day saw him shoot a trio of bogeys with a birdie.
Alex Hutson (Newport, Tenn.) now sits as the lowest Eagle on the leaderboard in a tie for 31st. He was six-over in the second round with a 78, pushing his two-round total to 154. The junior shot a double bogey and bogey in the front nine but made up ground with an eagle on the eighth hole, putting him at +1 heading into the turn. The second half of the course brought some struggles as he shot five-over with a double bogey and three bogeys.
Hutson shot one of just three eagles that were carded in the second round.
The top-three in the field remains the same as Anderson's Jake Miller stays in first through Monday after shooting even, leaving him still at five-under for the event with a 139 total. Queens' Henry Bryden and Mars Hill's Harry Butler also shot even in the second round to remain at two-under with a 142 total through 36 holes of play.
The championship will wrap up on Tuesday starting at 8:30 a.m. with the first C-N player teeing off at 9:15 a.m. Live scoring will be provided throughout the day leading up to the crowing of a champion later in the afternoon.