Oklahoma Christian in hunt at Desert Classic

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LAS VEGAS (Feb. 28, 2016) – Oklahoma Christian was right on the heels of one of the elite men’s golf teams in NCAA Division II after the opening day of the Las Vegas Desert Classic on Sunday.

Led by freshman Manuel Hernandez and senior Sam Johnston, the Eagles posted a two-round team score of 580 and were in second place in the 15-team event, only two shots behind West Florida, the No. 3 team in the most recent Golfstat.com Division II relative ranking. OC is No. 60 in that ranking.

OC, which posted a 291 team score in the first round and a 289 in the second round,  is seven shots ahead of tournament host Missouri-St. Louis (No. 18) and Indianapolis (No. 26) heading into Monday’s final round at Paiute Golf Club’s Snow Mountain Course.

Hernandez led the 78-man field after shooting a first-round 68, then fired a 2-over-par 74 in the second round to finish the day at 2-under 142, four shots behind the leader, Markus Lindberg of Missouri-St. Louis. Bryce Geraghty of West Florida and Greg Gonzalez of California Baptist are tied for second, three shots behind Lindberg and one ahead of Hernandez.

Johnston was tied for fifth at 143 after posting rounds of 73 and 70. OC sophomore Zac Schaefer was just outside the top 10, tied for 12th at 146 after shooting a pair of 73s on the 6,992-yard layout.

Another OC freshman, Juan Pallach, shot a 77 in the morning round but improved to 72 in the afternoon and was tied for 23rd at 149. Freshman Ethan Smith shot an 82 and a 79 for OC and was 61st at 161.

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Ken MacLeod

Publisher Golf Oklahoma | Oklahoma's No. 1 Golf Source

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