OCALA, Fla. – If the University of Oregon men’s golf team punches a fourth consecutive ticket to the NCAA championships, Jack Dukeminier’s play during the first round of the Southeast Regional will be one reason why.
The senior from Eugene, who was playing as UO’s No. 2 on Thursday at the Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club, stands in first place among individuals after matching his career-low with a 6-under 66. On a day when All-American and No. 1 golfer Daniel Miernicki struggled to a 3-over 75 to tie for 53rd, Dukeminier’s round was essential to the No. 20 Ducks chances to advance, pulling the team into a fifth-place tie with Georgia Southern at 3-under 285.
The significance of that fifth-place slot is that only the top five teams from the 14-team field will advance to the championships, May 31-June 5, at Karsten Creek in Stillwater, Okla.
The regional’s top seed and host Florida has the 18-hole lead at 6-under 282. No. 17 Arkansas is one shot behind the fifth-ranked Gators, while Baylor and North Carolina State are two strokes off the pace. With two rounds to play, ten teams are within eight strokes of the lead, including defending NCAA champion and sixth-ranked August State in a tie for eighth at 2-over 290.
Andrew Vijarro, Oregon’s No. 3, was the only Duck besides Dukeminier to break par and is tied for 11th at 1-under. No. 5 Jack Paton is tied for 32nd at 1-over, and No. 4 Eugene Wong is tied for 53rd with Miernicki at 3-over.
Dukeminier has a one-shot lead over Kennesaw State’s Ben Greene and Southeastern Louisiana’s Philipp Westermann. Four others are two strokes back at 4-under.
Performing in the postseason is nothing new for Dukeminier, who tied The Honors Course record with a 66 during last year’s NCAA championships in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Round 2 will take place on Friday, starting at 8 a.m. ET. Live scoring and stats will be available at www.Golfstat.com.
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