Greensboro, N.C. – Juniors Blake Young and Jack Berger led the charge in Wednesday's second round of the 2018 NCAA Division III Men's Golf National Championships at the Grandover Resort, helping the Pioneers rise spot to an eighth-place standing on the 42-team leaderboard after 36 holes of play.
Transylvania enjoyed a promising second round, turning in a team score of 295, good for seven-over par, two strokes better than Monday's round one score. After two rounds, the Pioneers now carry a score of 592 to lock into a tie for eighth place with Hope College.
The Pioneers not only reached the halfway point of the national championships in the top-10 with completion of round two, but also made Wednesday's halfway cut line safely. A cut was applied after 36 holes, eliminating the bottom 24 teams while keeping the top 18.
Wednesday's second round action began with the notoriety of being the first known instance in Division III national championship history in which a shotgun start was used for all teams. After waiting until 11:00 a.m. local time for some teams to complete suspended round one play from late Monday because of weather, the Pioneers and 41 other teams hit the courses at Grandover for second-round play.
Young and Berger each began their day on the 13th hole and Berger signaled promise of another strong day for the Pioneers, birdieing his first hole of the day. Berger's opening-hole birdie set the tone for a consistent round that saw the junior bury two birdies, sink 13 pars, and turn in just three bogeys.
Young followed suit, duplicating those numbers with birdies on holes 12 and 18 as he matched Berger.
It was a significant bounce-back afternoon for sophomore Spencer McKinney, who had the high score of round one for the Pioneers. McKinney produced the most pars of any Pioneer on Wednesday, holing 15 of them while sinking a birdie on hole seven to match Berger and Young with a 73 of his own. The sophomore improved upon his round-one score by six strokes.
Senior Carson Wattenbarger continued to make the most of his final NCAA championship appearance, shooting a four-over par 76 in the second round. Sophomore Harrison Lane carded an 11-over par 83 on Wednesday as the Pioneers now sit at 16-over par as a team through two rounds.
Young now stands in 11th place on the individual leaderboard at one-under par for the tournament. Berger sits five strokes back of Young for a share of 40th place.
With a team score of 592, the Pioneers currently sit 14 strokes back of first-place and host team Guilford College.
As one of 18 teams left in the tournament, the Pioneers will aim for their best finish since 2013, when they finished as the national runners-up for the second consecutive year.
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