PLYMOUTH, Ind. — After 36 holes at the 2019 NJCAA Division II Golf National Championship, the Walters State Senators are in contention for a national title.
The Senators fired a team score of 3-over par 291 on Wednesday at The Swan Lake Resort's Black Course, the best round of the day by four shots and one of only three team scores under 300 on the day, as they widened their first round lead to a full eight strokes entering the second half of the tournament.
Senators sophomores Alex Hodge and Dan Rheinecker and freshman Andrew Linkous are all in contention for the individual title as well, with Hodge leading the pack at 1-under par 143. Sophomore Hunter Blanken is in the top 20, while freshman Stephen Owen recorded a score nine shots better than his opening 18.
After two days, Walters State sits at 12-over par 588 after firing rounds of 297 and 291, putting them six shots clear of second place South Mountain at 594 (299-2975. Kirkwood is third at 607 (308-299), while Black Hawk (609—300-309) and Mississippi Gulf Coast (615–310-305) round out the top five.
Abraham Baldwin is sixth at 620 (312-308), while Meridian (317-309) and Parkland (311-315) are tied for seventh at 626, Murray State (313-316) is ninth at 629 and Rend Lake (321-209), Scottsdale (313-317) and Tyler (318-312) are tied for 10th place at 630.
Des Moines Area (313-318) is 13th overall at 631, followed by Southwestern (635–320-315), Grand Rapids (643–326-317), Mott (646–329-317), Oakland (649–323-326), Southeast Nebraska (666–328-338), Lake County (672–343-329), Buck's County (680–336-344) and Southern Maryland (707-347-360) in the 21-team field.
Hodge shot even par 36 on the front nine, record a bogey on one and a birdie on four, but he had three birdies on the back nine as opposed to one bogey to turn in a 70 on the day and put him at 1-over 143, one shot clear of South Mountain's Leon D'Souza (144–73-71) and two shots in front of Black Hawk's Rielly McGranahan (145–70-75)
Rheinecker is a shot behind McGranahan at 146 (73-73), as he notched three birdies on the day while also posing four bogeys. He also was even on the front nine before posting a 37 on the back nine, putting him in a tie for fourth in the tournament.
Linkous had a topsy-turvy day, scoring a 1-under 35 on the front nine with four birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey on the ninth, and he had a birdie and a bogey on the back to post a 36, giving him a 71 on the day and putting him in a tie for eight place at 147 (76-71).
Blanken had three bogeys on the front in turing in a 39, and he had three bogeys with a birdie on the back nine to put up 77 on the day, putting him in a tie for 19th place at 152 (75-77).
Owen, who shot an 86 in the opening round, fired a 77 on Wednesday, as two birdies and three bogeys on the front side gave him a 37 before three bogeys, a double bogey and a birdie on the back gave him a 40, putting him in a tie for 80th place at 163 (86-77).
The third round of the tournament will be played Thursday, with the final round and the national champion set to be crowned on Friday.