Eagles seize 6-shot lead after 2nd round of NAIA Championship

OC’s Logan Herbst lines up his putt on the 15th green on Wednesday during the second round of the NAIA Championship at Creekside Golf Club.

By Murray Evans
SALEM, Ore. (May 23, 2012) – The clouds parted, the rain stopped and No. 2-ranked Oklahoma Christian gave a hint Wednesday of what it’s capable of doing at the NAIA Men’s Golf Championship.

Taking advantage of much-improved playing conditions, the Eagles posted the second-best team score of the day, an even-par 288, and moved into first place after two rounds at Creekside Golf Club.

OC, seeking to win its second straight national title and its third in four years, had an overall score of 585, six shots better than Our Lady of the Lake (Texas). Johnson & Wales (Fla.) is another shot back at 592, followed by British Columbia (594) and No. 1-ranked Oklahoma City University (595). First-round leader Victoria (British Columbia) dropped to eighth, 13 shots behind OC.

“We are where we want to be, in the lead,” OC coach David Lynn said. “Around the lead is where we want to be going into the last day. We are constantly striving for that.”

OC junior Vilhelm Bogstrand fired his second straight 1-under 71 to remain in second place in the individual race, four shots behind Brandon Meltzer of Johnson & Wales, who posted the tournament’s best round so far, a 7-under 65 on the 6,887-yard layout.

Another OC golfer, Preston Wilkins, is tied for 10th at 3-over, with Logan Herbst another shot back, tied for 14th.

Wilkins, Herbst and Jared Consoli each shot a 73 on Wednesday, while Alasdair Dalgliesh rebounded from a 79 during Tuesday’s first round with a 71. After having to simply hold on during Tuesday’s soggy round, the Eagles were able to post low scores Wednesday. None of the five players recorded a double bogey.

“It dried out, which was great, and the wind picked up,” Lynn said. “That’s what we play in (in Oklahoma) and we’re comfortable with that. It wasn’t surprising for us to come out and have a solid round today. I thought the guys were great. We had all five guys grinding and all five guys in it. You cannot put a price on that, when they can look around at each other and see that all five are grinding and know that all five of their scores to count.”

The Eagles started their rounds on No. 10 and Bogstrand began quickly with three birdies on his first seven holes. He gave all those shots back on the front nine with three bogeys, but closed his round with a birdie on the par-4 No. 9 hole.

“The front nine, especially, I was really hitting it,” Bogstrand said.

The key, Lynn said, was the Eagles kept their tee shots in the fairway and mostly avoided the penalizing rough.

“They played solid and didn’t take unnecessary chances,” he said. “We did what we had to do today. We put the ball in the fairway – that was number one. That gave us an opportunity to score.”

Bogstrand, he said, was a good example of the Eagles’ mindset.

“He’s hitting the ball on the fairway,” Lynn said. “He’s hitting the ball on the greens. He’s spotting the field 30 yards of distance, but he does a better job than anybody in this field of playing within himself. He doesn’t care what club he has to hit. … That confidence that he has, him being comfortable in his own skin on the golf course, is a huge advantage.”

Lynn also came away impressed with the rounds posted by Wilkins and Herbst.

“Logan didn’t have his best stuff,” Lynn said. “He hit a lot of shots that he didn’t like, but he made a lot of good two-putts today. Preston was 1-over to 1-under all day long. He just kind of bounced around in there. He had a great attitude.”