Blue Raider men within striking distance after solid second roundApril 17, 2007 · MT Media Relations
ORLANDO, Fla. - Tuesday was moving day at the Sun Belt Conference Men's Golf Championships and Middle Tennessee made the biggest move in the field at the Walt Disney World's Magnolia Course.
· Photos: Round Two Gallery
The Blue Raiders entered the day in fifth, 13 shots off the lead, but by the time the second round was complete Middle Tennessee had made up seven shots and bolted into third place with a 2-over 290 on the long, challenging course.
Middle Tennessee, seeking its first SBC Golf Championship, tied for the low round of the day with Louisiana-Lafayette and enters Wednesday's final round six shots behind New Orleans and one behind the Ragin' Cajuns.
"I'm really proud of this team and the way they came through out here today," Blue Raider head men's coach Johnny Moore said. "We did all we could today, and we did what we had to do to give ourselves a chance. We would have liked to shoot par and that's what we were shooting for but it was a good day."
While Middle Tennessee was doing its part to make a run, New Orleans was coming back to the pack after shooting a remarkable 285 in tough conditions Monday. That left Middle Tennessee in position to make a run and it seized the moment.
After making the turn at 3-over the Blue Raiders put together a staunch run on the back. They shot 1-under and knocked in seven birdies along the way. One of the biggest turning points in the round came on the par-3 12th hole when the Blue Raiders sank four birdies and never let up.
Leading the charge was freshman standout Craig Smith, who blistered the course with a 3-under 69. His solid round included no bogeys, 15 pars, and three birdies. The SBC Freshman of the Year candidate followed his 1-under 35 on the front with an even more impressive 2-under 34 on the grueling back nine.
"I was putting well and had my speed down good," Smith said. "I really worked on that this morning. I was hitting good iron shots. The driver was going pretty good, but I still have some work to do on that.
"I feel like we have a good shot at winning this tournament. We have a good, solid team and I know we can do it. We came back today, played well, and we gave ourselves a chance."
Chas Narramore continued his assault on the course with another superb round. His 72 came on the heels of a 71 Monday and leaves him at 1-under 143 and leading the tournament entering Wednesday's final round. The Kingston, Tenn., native was steady throughout, shooting even on the front, and he was even on the back to remain in contention for low medalist. He came on strong on the back nine, particularly on the 12th-through-15th holes where he fashioned birdies on three of the four holes.
"Par on this course is very good," Moore said. "Chas played well and fought through a back injury to hang in there. Craig Smith was solid out there today and after making a seven on the first hole, Kent Bulle held on all day long and played well. Rick Cochran came back and played well and put together a nice round. They played well today."
Cochran shot a 1-over 73 and enjoyed a good day with the driver and putter. He was in good position all day and rebounded strong from the 78 he posted Monday. Bulle finished a 4-over but after shooting 3-over on the first hole, he was virtually even the rest of the way.
Sun Belt Conference Golf Championships
Second Round Scores
Walt Disney World's Magnolia Golf Course
2 Louisiana-Lafayette 297 290 587
6 Western Kentucky U. 303 294 597
Arkansas State U. 308 303 611
12 UALR 318 308 626
MT Team Scores
T1 Chas Narramore 71-72 143
T5 Craig Smith 76-69 145
T21 Rick Cochran 78-73 151
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