There’s a Big Ten/ACC battle brewing in the Lowcountry.
One day after Illinois sprinted out to a big lead in Round 1, the Fighting Illini leveled off as conference foe Ohio State and ACC power Wake Forest each surged with 7-under par performances in Round 2 of the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Regional Tuesday at TPC Myrtle Beach. Ohio State (-11) now holds a two-stroke lead on Illinois and Wake Forest heading into Wednesday’s final round.
The Buckeyes rode the continued strong play of current third-place individual Caleb Ramirez (-7) and Will Voetsch (T4, -5), as all five Ohio State players finished the day at even par or better.
“I thought we played solid from start to finish,” said Ohio State Head Coach Jay Moseley. “We’ve gotten out of the gate really well on the front nine here, making some birdies early on (Hole Nos.) 1 and 2, and we’ve been able to carry that momentum throughout the round. I’m proud to see our guys come through down the stretch today.”
Wake Forest’s Eugenio Chacarra (T4, -5) matched Oregon’s Edwin Yi (T1, -8) in posting the day’s low score of 67, while Illinois’ Michael Feagles (T1, -8) has kept his team in contention with consecutive rounds of 68 while joining Yi atop the individual leaderboard.
“We made a lot of birdies today, and the guys hung in there,” said Jerry Haas, Wake Forest head coach, in assessing his team’s Round 2 performance. “The greens were beautiful – drying out a bit, a little faster with the wind being up.”
Firmer, breezier conditions at TPC Myrtle Beach made the day a grind for the Myrtle Beach Regional’s individual qualifiers. Coastal Carolina’s Zack Taylor (T20, +1) could not maintain his Monday momentum and followed his opening-round 68 with a 5-over par 77. Taylor is one stroke back of Western Kentucky’s Stuart Easton (T17, E), who followed Monday’s 71 with a 1-over 73.
While the Big Ten foes atop the team leaderboard will quickly renew acquaintances in their final-round pairing, Haas and his third-ranked Wake Forest squad will join them to make for an epic battle to reach the NCAA Finals in Fayetteville, Arkansas next week. Haas also knows they’re far from the only teams still in the mix.
“There are nine teams in the fight right now for the five spots,” said Haas. “A lot can happen, and we need to be ready to play and come out with the mindset that no one’s going to roll over for you. You have to come out and play some good golf.”