Copyright 2016; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo of Lunding teeing off from the ninth hole; a hole he birdied on Wednesday.
DENVER, Colo. - - Moving day produced another low number for the Wilmington University golf team, as the Wildcats sit in seventh placed overall after two rounds at the NCAA Division II National Tournament with a 286 (-2) on Wednesday at the Green Valley Ranch Golf Club.
Although the Wildcats improved their round by three strokes from the first round, the team slid two spots to sit in seventh overall after two rounds at the National Tournament. After two rounds, the Wildcats shot a 289-286 for a 575 (-1) for the tournament.
The Wildcats were led by senior Andreas Lunding's 68 (-4) on Wednesday as he moved up seven spots to sit in a tie for sixth overall at six under par for the tournament. Although he shot a 73 (+1), junior Freddy Braun fell 12 spots to a tie for 14th overall, sitting at four under par for the tournament.
Lunding owned the front nine on Wednesday, starting with a birdie on hole two. After a bogey on five to get him back to even par, the senior went birdie, birdie, par, birdie to close the front nine with a 33 (-3). Lunding followed with three straight birdies on holes 12, 13, and 14 to get as low as six under par for the say, but back-to-back bogeys on holes 17 and 18 allowed him to finish with a 68, four under par for the day.
After a first round to forget, junior Sam Clark made the second round count, scoring a 71 (-1) to improve by 11 strokes after Tuesday's first round. The junior sank a long birdie putt on the seventh hole to get to even on the front nine before sinking another long birdie putt on the 18th green to finish off a solid back nine. Clark hit par on the first eight holes on the back nine before sinking the birdie putt to shoot 35 (-1) on the back. He moved up 15 spots on the leaderboard on Wednesday to sit in a tie for 88th overall.
Junior Freddy Braun (at left) sat in second place after the first round of play with a 67 (-5) on Tuesday, but a double bogey on hole 14 set the junior back to a tie for 14th overall after two rounds of play. Braun hits birdies on holes two and nine on the front nine but a bogey on eight only allowed him to shoot a 35 (-1) on the first nine holes. After countering a bogey on 11 with a birdie on 12, the junior double bogeyed 14 to sit at one over par. He sank par putts on the final four holes to come in with a 73 (+1) on the day.
Sophomore Joey Russo capped the Wildcats scoring on Wednesday with a 74 (+2), falling to a tie for 48th overall after two rounds. Russo was even after the first nine holes, hitting a birdie on the par five second after starting the morning with a bogey on one. He also birdied on the par four sixth but gave a shot back with a bogey on seven. Russo bogeyed on back-to-back holes on the back before a birdie on 16 brought the sophomore to one-over for the day. But Russo narrowly missed a par putt on 18 and finished the day with his 74 (+2).
Freshman Ryan Rucinski had a six shot difference from the first round to Wednesday, shooting a 74 (+2) in the second round. He is in a tie for 92nd overall at 10-over par for the tournament. After starting the day with a double bogey on the first hole, Rucinski answered with a birdie on hole two. He made the turn at two-over par before a birdie on 12 brought the freshman to one-over for the day. But back-to-back bogeys put Rucinski at three-over before a birdie on 16 brought the freshman back to two-over par. He had a chance with a birdie putt on 18, but he just pushed the stroke and finished with a par, 74 (+2) for the day.
The Wildcats are trying to be the first team from the East Region to advance to the elimination portion of the National Tournament, finishing in the Top 8 after three rounds of stroke play. The Wildcats are four stroke ahead of California Baptist in eighth place and five strokes ahead of Dallas Baptist in ninth place.
St. Leo set a Division II National Tournament Record by being 25-under par after two round, shooting a 273 (-15) as a team on Wednesday. Lunding trails individual leader Hugo Bernard (St. Leo) by seven strokes as Bernard went for a 66 (-6) on Wednesday to sit at 13-under after two rounds.
The Wildcats are paired with eighth place California Baptist and ninth place Dallas Baptist on the final round of stroke play on Thursday. The trio will begin teeing off at 12:00 p.m. local time (2:00 p.m. EST) from the 10th hole on Thursday.