OCALA, Fla. – As defending NCAA men’s golf champion Augusta State blazed up the leaderboard at the Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club, taking a four-shot lead with 18 holes to play at the Southeast Regional, the Oregon Ducks nearly fell out of contention for one of the top five spots needed to advance to this year’s finals.
The 20th-ranked Ducks’ score of 3-over 291 in the second round was the third-worst among the 14 participants, dropping UO from fifth to ninth in the standings and forcing head coach Casey Martin’s squad to make up at least six strokes on Saturday to advance to the NCAA championships for a fourth straight season.
Now at even par through 36 holes, Oregon must take aim at both No. 17 Arkansas and Baylor, who occupy the final to spots for advancement at 6-under.
UO can look to Augusta State’s second-round as motivation for Saturday’s finale as the No. 6 Jaguars climbed from tenth to first with a 13-under par performance to stand at 11-under. Host and fifth-ranked Florida is tied for second with North Carolina State at 7-under, followed by the Razorbacks and Bears.
Kennesaw State and Georgia Southern are tied for sixth at 6-under, and Southeastern Louisiana is eighth at 3-under.
Individually, it was also a poor day for the Ducks with the exception of No. 3 Andrew Vijarro. The junior from Bend followed up his opening-round 71 with a 68 and is tied for seventh at 5-under – four strokes behind leader Mitchell Sutton of N.C. State.
UO’s No. 2 Jack Dukeminier, the Round 1 leader who carded a 66 on Thursday, shot 76 on Friday, dropping into a 17th-place tie at 2-under. No. 4 Eugene Wong moved up to third on the squad and tied for 40th in the tournament at 3-over after a 72.
No. 5 Jack Paton is tied for 45th at 4-over, followed by No. 1 Daniel Miernicki, who is tied for 58th in the 73-man field at 7-over.
The Ducks will tee off between 7:30 and 8:10 a.m. ET on Saturday, starting play on the back nine at the 6,994-yard course. Live scoring is available at www.Golfstat.com.
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