No. 6 Mississippi Gulf Coast, which has Colin Troxler and Jackson Wedgeworth atop the leaderboard, maintained its eight-shot lead Wednesday after the second round of the NJCAA Division II Golf Tournament in Mesa, Ariz.
"This is where we dreamed about being," Troxler said. "This is where we want to be, with everybody chasing us. We've got a target on our backs the next two days. We just have to go out there and play like we're capable of performing."
Troxler fired a 2-under 69 at Longbow Golf Club, tied for the best score of the day to take the lead at 3-under for the tournament. He's one shot ahead of Wedgeworth, who shot 3-over Wednesday. They are the only two golfers below par midway through the tournament.
Gulf Coast shot 9-over and now leads by eight over Murray State. Host Mesa is another shot back, with No. 1-ranked Tyler fourth at 18-over and two-time defending champion South Mountain, which is ranked third, at 19-over in fifth.
Troxler (So., Hahnville/Luling, La.) was 2-under on the front nine, but then started the back bogey-double bogey. He rallied to birdie No. 13, then eagled 15.
Wedgeworth (Fr., West Jones/Soso), the first-round leader, birdied 15 to get to even for Tuesday, but then bogeyed the last three holes.
"Colin played really well," Gulf Coast coach Tommy Snell said. "He had a four-putt he overcame. Jackson played well again, but the putts just wouldn't fall. He was putting well, but they just wouldn't fall."
Murray State's Reece Blair is in third place at even par.
Wyatt Adkison (So., East Central/Hurley) birdied two of his last four holes to get back to 3-over and is tied for seventh. Jonathon Newman birdied two of the last three to get to 5-over and a tie for 17th, and Logan Leary (Fr., Gonzales/Dutchtown, La.) birdied 15 and 18 to also claw back to 5-over for the day.
"They hung in there. It was a tough day," Snell said. "You can see with the scores, it played tough out there."
Two other MACJC teams are playing in the tournament. Fifth-ranked Meridian (+32) is in seventh, and fourth-ranked Copiah-Lincoln (+51) is in 13th.
Snell has had 10 straight teams play in the national tournament, and the Bulldogs have never led outright and never been in first other than the first day.
"The main thing is just to keep playing like we're playing," he said. "If we make a bogey, don't worry about it and play smart. This is one of those golf courses where there aren't a lot of big numbers, but you have to play the fat side of the green. There's no real treachery out there. You just have to hang in there, and they're playing smart."
NJCAA Division II Golf Tournament
Longbow Golf Course
7,050 yards, Par 71
Round 2, Wednesday
Team top 10
|1. Gulf Coast||277-293—570 (+2)|
|2. Murray State||287-291—578 (+10)|
|3. Mesa||287-292—579 (+11)|
|4. Tyler||285-301—586 (+18)|
|5. South Mountain||293-394—587 (+19)|
|6. Illinois Central||296-299—595 (+27)|
|7. Meridian||297-303—600 (+32)|
|8. Kirkwood||300-301—601 (+33)|
|9. Southeast||313-289—602 (+34)|
|10. Parkland||300-305—605 (+37)|
|1. Colin Troxler||70-69—139 (-3)|
|2. Jackson Wedgeworth||66-74—140 (-2)|
|T7. Wyatt Adkison||70-74—144 (+2)|
|T17. Jonathon Newman||72-76—147 (+5)|
|T43. Logan Leary||76-76—152 (+10)|
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