The University of Central Oklahoma men’s golf team is in first-place after two rounds of play Monday at the Missouri Southern State Invitational at Shangri-La Resort.
Led by Alberto Ruiz-Nava, the Bronchos shot a 571. Ruiz-Nava shot a 4-under 140 and is tied for first-place in the individual standings, and his teammates aren’t far behind him.
Cody Troutman shot a 3-under 141 and is tied for second. Eli Armstrong shot an even-par 144 and is tied for eighth, and Nick Pierce shot a 2-over 146 to fall into a tie for 12th. Wesley Jackson is tied for 32nd at 151.
“They got after it today,” head coach Josh Fosdick said. “They showed me a lot of what they can do and I’m really proud of them for that. This thing isn’t over though, we have one round left to play.”
Oklahoma Christian had the team lead after the first round on Monday, UCO was in fourth-place. Oklahoma Christian finished at 576 and is second.
A 12-shot lead after one round at Shangri-La Golf Club turned into a five-shot deficit for OC after the second round on Monday, leaving the Eagles five shots behind rival Central Oklahoma.
OC sizzled with a first-round 277 – 11-under-par as a team – but posted a 299 in the second round. UCO was in fourth place after the first round at 294, but improved to 277 in the second round, giving the Bronchos a 571 score and the edge heading into Tuesday’s final round.
Both teams have two players among the top five. OC sophomore Alejandro Valenzuela followed his 6-under 66 with a 74 and was tied atop the leaderboard with UCO’s Alberto Ruiz Nava. Valenzuela’s 66 matched his career low round, set last March in the St. Edward’s Invitational, although that came on a par-70 course.
One shot behind Valenzuela and Ruiz Nava, tied for third, were OC junior Zac Schaefer, UCO’s Cody Troutman and Missouri Southern’s Connor Neil. Schaefer also opened with a career-best round of 66 before shooting a 75 in the afternoon round on the 6,840-yard course.
In 12th place in the 71-player field at 146 was OC sophomore Juan Pallach, who posted steady rounds of 72 and 74. Another sophomore, Manuel Hernandez, shot 73-76–149 and was tied for 24th, and freshman Michael Robinson, playing in his first collegiate tournament, recorded consecutive 77s and was tied for 42nd at 154.
Three other teams also will start Tuesday within 10 shots of the lead – Lindenwood (Mo.) at 582, Southern Nazarene at 584 and host Missouri Southern at 586.
SNU freshman Brady Liles will start his final round in a tie for eighth place at 144, lifting the Crimson Storm into fourth place. SNU is two shots back of third place Lindenwood.
Rhett Bechtel finished his day in a tie for 12th place after posting a 146, and Ryan Roberts is in a tie for 20th, two shots behind Bechtel at 148. Dylan Igo is a shot behind Roberts at 149, placing him in a tie for 24th, and Preston Lovett is in a tie for 34th after completing his first two rounds at a 152 total.
Rogers State sits in eighth with a score of 604. The Hillcats put together a team score of 305 in the first round and followed with a 299 score in the second round for the 604 total.
Hagen Barmasse is tied for eighth after rounds of 69-75. Sophomore Patrick Bart is tied for 24th at 149.