HOWEY-in-the-HILLS, FL – Day 2 at the NCAA Championships found the Ephs teeing off from the 10th tee at the Las Colinas 6,888-yard course at 7:30 a.m. with the University of Northwestern (St. Paul) and The University of Mary Hardin Baylor.
With an opening round score of 314 the Ephs were tied for 25th place and needed to climb seven places in the standings to 18th place to survive the cut. After two rounds of the NCAA Championship the field is pared from 42 to 18 teams for the final two days of competition.
There is no doubt that today was 'MOO-ving' day for the Williams men's golf team as
the Ephs were 15 shots better in today's morning round than they were yesterday coming in with a team score of 299, giving them a two-day total of 613.
And then the wait began to see if the Ephs who were in 24th place when they finished their second round around 1:00 p.m. could somehow climb to 18th place and qualify to play two more rounds.
At 3:30 p.m. with lots of holes left to play for the teams the Ephs were hoping to pass head coach Josh Hillman stated, "We just ate and the kids are back studying for finals. They played really well today. A 299 on that course is no joke and they worked hard to shoot that score."
"It was a day filled with excitement and the guys are happy with how they played," Hillman continued. "We are in 20th place right now and it is windy, so let's see what happens. Every one of our players is either taking a final or studying for one. It's crazy how much they do day in and day out. No other school here is putting in the hours these five are right now."
Playing the back nine of Las Colinas first the Ephs came out on fire with all five players scoring 42 (+5) or less to put the Ephs just 11 shots over at the turn. First years Sam Goldenring and Will Kannegieser led the Eph charge coming in at two-over (37). The three seniors in the Eph lineup were clustered between three-over and five-over. Jacob Watt-Morse was three-over; Grant Raffel was four-over, while Ross Hoffman was five-over.
Goldenring put together an 8-hole run that included six birdies and two pars from the 17th hole to the sixth hole. He had three straight birdies on the fourth, fifth, and sixth holes on the front nine on his way to going three-under on the traditional front nine (his back nine on the day) to end up with a one-under par 71 for the day.
Will Kannegieser recorded the Ephs' second best round of the day posting a two-over 74, going just one over on his last 11 holes. Grant Raffel went four-over on the first nine holes today and then played the back nine at even par, balancing a bogey five on #4 with a birdie 4 on #5 to shoot 76.
Jacob Watt-More was the Ephs' fourth scorer going thee-over on both nines to shoot 78 and Ross Hoffman finished with a nine-over 81.
The splendid morning round boosted Williams 11 places in the standings and halfway through the four-day championship the Ephs now sit in 14th place and Williams is the first NESCAC team to advance to the final two rounds of the NCAA Tournament by making the cut.
A happy Josh Hillman said, "14th place from 25th place, I'm just so proud of these guys. They've worked so hard and put so much time in that to be sitting 14th after two days and making the cut is just amazing. We look forward to two more productive days."
Hillman's Ephs will tee off tomorrow at 8:45 a.m. and they will start on the 10th tee on the El Campeón course, where they will be paired with payers from Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and either St. John's (MN) or Illinois Wesleyan, whichever team wins the tiebreaker for 15th place.