Rain delays, threats of lightning and overall poor weather at Prairie Dunes Country Club have changed the format of the NCAA men’s golf championship in Huntington, Kan. The course, which has been suffering from one of the worst droughts in recent memory as well as one of the driest starts on record, has been anything but dry.
Due to the extreme weather conditions, the fourth round, originally scheduled for Monday, has been canceled and hopes that a full round can completed on Monday are still up in the air because the forecast calls for a 40 percent chance of scattered storms.
The No. 3 Stanford Cardinal led at the conclusion of Saturday’s suspended play. After all teams finally completed two full rounds earlier on Sunday afternoon, the Cardinal still remained on top of the leaderboard without ever stepping on the course.
The nation’s top two ranked amateurs in Patrick Rodgers and Cameron Wilson, both from Stanford, also sit atop the individual leaderboard, only juxtaposed ever so slightly with Wilson in first place at 6-under and Rodgers right behind at 5-under par.
The Cal Golden Bears, who were ranked No. 5 prior to the championships, excelled in the first round with a 1-under 279 but struggled in the second round finishing 9-over par. The Bears were able to start the third round prior to a final suspension due to lightning and shoot a 1-under on the day. Cal is now tied for 14th par with the Universities of Texas and Alabama-Birmingham at 7-over. Brandon Hagy is tied for 21st place at 1-under par while teammates Joel Stalter and Michael Weaver are tied for 41st at 1-over par.
No. 8 Washington mirrored the play of California, scoring 1-under par in the first round and struggling in the second round. The Huskies performed two strokes better than the Bears finishing 7-over in the round and 6-over par overall, good enough to be tied for 11th place. Cory Pereira led all Huskies golfers with an even par after shooting 69 in the first round and 71 in the second.
No. 21 UCLA also shot a 1-under par 279 in the first round but fared much better in the second round despite all the delays and distractions. The Bruins finished the second round with a respectable 4-over par to give the squad a composite score of 3-over par and sole possession of eighth place. Anton Arboleda, who had a masterful 2-under 68 in the first round, finished 1-over in the second dropping him from 18th place in the individual ranking to 21st. Lorens Chan and Preston Valder are both a stroke behind Arboleda at even par.
The 22nd-ranked Trojans had a bad first round and an even worse second round. Finishing 16-over par in the first round was tough but being unable to rebound with an 18-over second round most likely signaled the end of the tournament for USC. Their third round score of 3-over par was not the worst showing of the round and their total score of 37-over is also not the highest of all schools, that honor belongs to Texas A&M at 38-over par. Rico Hoey, the lone bright spot for the Trojans with a 2-under 68 in the first round, finished the second round at 7-over par. Hoey’s teammates are all in double digits over par.
One would think that the 27th ranked Oregon Ducks would excel in the inclement and rainy conditions but it has proved to be the opposite. They represent the biggest drop from the end of day one, which had Oregon on top, to the end of day three, where we find the Ducks at 17-over par and in 23rd place out of 30 schools. The 17-over second round hit the squad hard and they have rebounded in the third round with an impressive 4-under par to keep the Ducks at 17-over for the tournament.