|Palouse Ridge GC --- Click to enlarge|
|Click to enlarge|
Rolling on the Palouse
McNealy tops leaderboard through 36 holes
PULLMAN, Wash. – Maverick McNealy caught fire early and never cooled down to open the Pac-12 Conference Championships at the par-70, 7,257-yard Palouse Ridge Golf Club. The sophomore with four wins this season signed off on rounds of 65 and 68 to hold the overall lead at 7-under while knocking in an eagle and 11 birdies, the most of any player through Monday’s 36 holes of action.
McNealy gained steamed when the cold morning went to the wayside by posting a 5-under 30 on the back nine. Part of that stretch included four birdies on the first six holes and an eagle on 18. Even more, he had back-to-back birdies to begin his second round.
One of the many consistent aspects of McNealy’s day was cashing in on scoring tries on the 18th hole.
“This morning I hit a three wood off the tee to the right-center of the fairway and had 280 yards uphill to the pin,” McNealy described. “Coach told me to rip one at the grandstand to the right of the green, so I smoked a hot one that got a good bounce left and curled up to about four feet. Made eagle to cap off a solid back nine.
“Smoked another three wood off the tee in the afternoon and had 250 yards to the pin, uphill, and it was playing around 262. I roasted a 3-iron and got a hot bounce forward instead of left. It ran through to the bunker behind the green. I tried to play it out sideways and it got caught on the end of the rough. That left me with a 30-foot downhill putt. I tapped it out of the rough with my putter and it went in for birdie.”
Washington State’s Derek Bayley (69-65) trails McNealy by one stroke.
Stanford (362-348) was sixth after the morning session and 14 shots better on its second circuit. The defending champion Cardinal was one of three teams to shoot under-par in the second round.
USC (-1) leads the 12-team field ahead of Arizona State (+5), Stanford (+10) and host Washington State (+10). Stanford will tee off Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. (PT) alongside Washington and Oregon.
|Team standings after 2 rounds - click to enlarge|
Franklin Huang went 73-70 in his league tournament debut for a share of 22nd. His even-par second round included a four-putt.
Viraat Badhwar nearly aced the par-3 fourth from 190 yards out to start the 12-hour marathon.
“I struck a perfect seven iron, and the ball chased the flag before landing a foot short,” said Badhwar. “It bounced up and hit the pin. I had some good things happen after that. It helped, because I started off a bit rough this morning. It was really cold and tough to get the body warm.”
Badhwar is 5-over after rounds of 75 and 70. Senior team captain Patrick Grimes (74-71) is tied for 32nd with Badhwar.
David Boote (75-69) was six shots better in the afternoon and tied for 27th.
“I got off a hot start in the afternoon, and that give me the confidence I needed for the rest of the round,” Boote said of his two birdies through four holes in the second round. “I didn’t hit the ball much better, just played a bit smarter.”
Boote moved up 17 spots in the standings between rounds. Jeff Swegle (0-72) had his first round discarded for some reason.
|Round 1 scorecards - click to enlarge. Swegle's round was wiped out for some reason|
|Round 2 scorecards - click to enlarge|
The Cardinal brings its young team to Pullman, Washington, to defend it's Pac-12 Championship won last year for the first time in 20 years. Two freshmen (Jeff Swegle, Franklin Huang), two sophomores (Maverick McNealy, Viraat Badhwar), one junior (David Boote) and one senior (Patrick Grimes) make up this year's team competing against an always strong group of Pac-12 teams that include 6 of the top 16 teams in the nation (ASU #5, Stanford #9, Oregon #13, UCLA #14, Washington #15 & USC #16).
The teams will compete on the home course of Washington State, a spectacular rolling venue designed by the late John Harbottle III. From the course website --- "Much of Harbottle’s design philosophy was based on his study of courses in Scotland, which fit closely into the lay of the existing land. He strived to make the best use of natural features and to ensure that artificial ones created were indistinguishable from nature. Every effort was made to create a course that is challenging, but also enjoyable for the average player."