Nicholasville, Ky. – The No. 3 Illinois Wesleyan University Titans maintained their hold upon first place in Round Two of the 2019 NCAA Division III Men's Golf National Championship at Keene Trace Golf Club, pacing the field with a two-round score of 578.
After carrying a one-stroke lead over second-place Concordia University Texas following Tuesday's first round, the Titans moved over to the demanding Champion Trace course and continued their impressive play, carding a three-over-par 291 to finish the first two rounds at two-over-par overall.
The Titans were led on Tuesday by Rob Wuethrich, who turned in an even-par 72 on Champion Trace. Wuethrich birdied back-to-back holes on the sixth and seventh holes, which were the 15th and 16th holes of the round for the Titans. Wuethrich is tied for 12th on the player leaderboard after 36 holes.
No. 6 Guilford College moved into second place on Wednesday as the Quakers turned in a two-round score of 582. The Quakers shot a two-under-par 286 as a team on the Keene Run course to make up significant ground, moving up four places from Tuesday. Four Quakers each made birdie on three or more holes, led by Josh Hill's five birdies on Wednesday. Hill delivered a two-under-par 70 to tie four other players on Wednesday for the second-lowest round-two score, forging a six-way tie for third place with a two-round 143.
No. 4 Wittenberg received outstanding performances from Cameron Willis and Ryan Mallette to check in at third place at the halfway point of the championships with an 11-over-par 587, sitting nine strokes back of Illinois Wesleyan.
Mallette was Wednesday's peak individual performer among the field; Mallette fired the lowest round over the first two days of the 216 individual golfers with a four-under-par 68. Mallette sank six birdies, including four in five holes on the front nine to display his mastery of the Champion Trace course. Mallette displayed one of the most scintillating individual rounds at the Division III National Championships in recent memory, turning in a four-under-par 32 on the first nine holes, a stretch which included the four birdies to go with five pars.
Willis and No. 5 Methodist's Zane Brownrigg each share the lead on the 216-player leaderboard with two-round scores of 142. Each player shot a 72 on Tuesday at Keene Run and a 70 on Wednesday at Champion Trace.
No. 2 Huntingdon College sits three strokes behind Wittenberg in fourth place after shooting a three-over 291 to record a two-day total of 590. No. 17 Oglethorpe University, No. 25 Trinity College, and No. 5 Methodist University each hold a share of fifth place on the team leaderboard with two-round scores of 598. Oglethorpe shot a 303 on the Champion Trace course Wednesday while the Bantams of Trinity carded a 308.
Defending champion Methodist made a visible climb from 10th place to fifth place on Wednesday, catalyzed by Brownrigg's second dynamic round in as many days. Methodist's opening two rounds were marked by consistency as the Monarchs followed a Tuesday 300 with a Wednesday 298.
Adding intrigue and anticipation to the conclusion of Wednesday's round was the tournament cutline, reducing the field for the final two rounds to the top 18 teams and top-six individuals belonging to teams which either did not make the cutline or were competing as individuals outright entering the week.
No. 8 University of Redlands holds 16th place while Aurora University and the University of St. Thomas each fought their way into a tie for 17th place, becoming the final teams to advance into the final two rounds of the tournament. St. John Fisher College and No. 10 Washington and Lee University found themselves just outside the edge; their 2019 tournament runs came to a close on Wednesday as the teams turned in scores of 622 to finish behind the 17th-place teams by two strokes.
Host team Transylvania University, which is hosting the national championships for the first time in program history, also narrowly missed the cutline, finishing one stroke behind St. John Fisher and Washington and Lee, and three strokes back of the cutline overall with a two-day score of 623.
The Pioneers improved upon their round-one score by nine strokes as a team at Keene Run on Wednesday, but a turbulent front nine hindered the Pioneers' chances of moving further up the leaderboard. Transylvania senior Blake Young carded an even-par 72 with four birdies as he turned in an indelible final round of his college career. Young made birdie on two of his final three holes to finish out his career at Transylvania on a high note.
Another notable elimination from the tournament was the No. 1 team in the country in Emory University. After capturing the NCAA Preview championship last September at the same venue, the Eagles could not overcome a slow round one start, finishing the tournament in 23rd place, one stroke back of the Pioneers and St. John's University (Minn.).
The final two rounds will take place at the Champion Trace course in Nicholasville with 18 teams desiring to lay claim to the team title and 96 players vying for the individual title. The six players joining the 18 teams are Sam Goldenring of Williams College, David Schneider of St. John's, Brendon Lowrance of McMurry, Cade Osgood of Southwestern, Daniel Harcourt of Gettysburg, and Brian Peccie of Washington and Lee. Peccie is the defending national medalist from last year's National Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina.
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