Mendoza Tied for Second after Day Two at NCAAs
May 28, 2016
EUGENE, Ore. – San Diego State’s Nahum Mendoza III (San Diego, Calif.) finds himself in a tie for second place on the individual leaderboard after shooting a 1-under-par 69 to pace the Aztec men’s golf team during the second round of the 2016 NCAA Championships Saturday at Eugene Country Club.
Despite recording five bogeys on his final six holes, Mendoza slipped just one spot in the standings with a combined 4-under 136, remaining just one stroke behind front-runner Justin Suh of USC. Alabama’s Robby Shelton fired a second-round low 66 to forge a tie with Mendoza, while Gordon Neale of Florida (-3) and California’s KK Limbhasut (-2) round out the top five heading into Sunday’s third round on the par-70, 7,014-yard track.
As a team, SDSU tumbled 12 places into a five-way tie for 15th with Kentucky, Auburn, Georgia and Clemson after posting a collective 12-over 292. The Aztecs actually vaulted into the lead midway through the round thanks to 10 birdies on the front nine. However, the Scarlet and Black was unable to maintain its lofty perch after counting 10 bogeys and two double-bogeys on its final five holes to finish the first 36 holes at 15-over 575.
“We knew the back nine was the more challenging (part) of the golf course,” said SDSU head coach Ryan Donovan. Our slogan all year has been ‘it’s all mental.’ And that’s what happened on the back. It wasn’t about execution. Sometimes you have to dig a little deeper and make things happen. Obviously, we didn’t do that.”
Vanderbilt (+3) climbed two places into the lead after carding an even-par 280 to grab a two-shot lead over USC (+5), while Arkansas (+6) sits in third, followed by LSU (+7) and Oregon (+7). The host Ducks completed the biggest jump in the standings, catapulting 15 places from the previous round after posting a 3-under 277 on their home course.
Individually, Mendoza opened up a two-shot lead after making birdie putt on the par-4, 425-yard 12th, his fifth of the day, to get to 5-under for the round. However, the reigning Mountain West Player of the Year faltered down the stretch, notching five bogeys against just one birdie, an impressive conversion on the par-5 15th after sticking his approach within 10 feet of the pin.
PJ Samiere (Kailua, Hawaii) was the only other Aztec to display upward mobility on Saturday, climbing 22 places into a tie for 81st at 6-over 146 after firing a second-round 71. The SDSU sophomore survived an early double-bogey at the par-4 second, offsetting three bogeys the rest of the way with four birdies, including a successful drain on the par-4, 450-yard No. 18.
On the flip side, Riccardo Michelini (Carpi, Italy) suffered the opposite fate, dropping all the way down from the seventh position into a 12-way logjam with Samiere in 81st on the heels of a 77. The Aztec senior sank a birdie on the par-4, 424-yard No. 2, which ranked as the sixth-toughest hole on Saturday. However, the SDSU senior was unable generate any consistency, suffering three bogeys apiece on the front and back nine to go along with a double-bogey at the par-3 16, where his tee shot landed in the water.
Likewise, Ryann Ree (Redondo Beach, Calif.) lost ground on Saturday, tumbling 41 places into a tie for 93rd at 7-over 147 after recording a 75. The two-time all-Mountain West selection registered four birdies before the turn, including back-to-back makes at No. 8 and 9, but four bogeys down the stretch to go with an untimely double-bogey at 18 sandbagged his round.
The Aztecs were also represented by Gunn Yang (Pyeongchang, South Korea), who struggled with an 81 on Saturday and sits at 16-over 156 for the tournament. The SDSU sophomore drained one birdie on the day at No. 8, but three bogeys and a double on his first six holes were still too much to overcome.
The NCAA Championships continue on Sunday with the third round when San Diego State tees off alongside Oklahoma and Wake Forest on hole No. 10, starting at noon PT.
“We still have one round tomorrow,” Donovan said. “It’s a new day, and we’re as good as any of these teams. We just have to come out and put up a good round.”
All 30 teams and six individuals will complete 54 holes of stroke play (Friday-Sunday). Following 54 holes of competition, the top 15 teams, along with the top nine individuals not on an advancing team, will advance for one additional day (Monday) of stroke play to determine the eight-team field for match play. The NCAA individual champion will be crowned after 72 holes of stroke play.
2016 NCAA Championships
Team Scores (Top 15 of 30 schools)
Individual Leaders (Top 5 of 156 players + SDSU)