April 27, 2015
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TEXARKANA, Ark. - Rain, strong winds, a hole-in-one (albeit by an opposing golfer) and a tree blown down in the middle of the fairway 40 yards behind him. Victor Lange saw just about everything en route to a 1-over-par second round at the Conference USA Championship at the Texarkana Country Club in Texarkana, Arkansas Monday.
Lange enters the final round of play at 1-over-par (72-73=145), jumping up nine spots to a tie for ninth place with five other golfers. He is only six strokes back of the leader and four back of the top five individuals.
"It was a crazy two days, I would say," Lange said of the events. "Garrison [Lackey], the player from UTSA, had a hole-in-one on the second hole of the day. He just holed it and that was awesome for him. Then a few holes later the wind blew a massive tree over just 40 yards behind me. It is pretty crazy. I have never seen anything like that happen."
While Lange is still within striking distance of a top-five finish, the Bulldogs have some work to do in order to reach the four-team match play portion. Louisiana Tech finished the second round tied for seventh with Old Dominion at 15-over-par, 14 strokes back of a match play qualifying spot.
"We are going to have to have a special day tomorrow," Louisiana Tech head coach Jeff Jenkins said after Monday's round. "I've seen teams come back from 15shots in one round so it is far from over. We have a third of the golf left so if we can have a special day tomorrow, we can get it done."
North Texas jumped ahead of No. 30 UAB on the team leaderboard and enters the final round at 7-under-par while the Blazers fell one spot after a 11-over-par round put them at 1-under-par for the tournament. Southern Miss is now tied with UAB at 1-under-par after shooting a field-best 2-over-par round Monday, matched by UTEP as the Miners jumped one spot into fourth.
Mitchell Haddox was struck with Ben Robinson's feast or famine round from Sunday as the redshirt freshman shot 3-under-par on the back nine to start (the Bulldogs teed off Monday's action from Hole No. 10) with a nine-hole score that was the second-best of the day. However, he fell to one-over-par for the round overall after carding a bogey on five of seven holes on the front nine. Despite the finish to his round, Haddox jumped 24 spots to a tie for 17th and enters the final round at 3-over-par (74-73=147).
"To play 3-under golf the way he did for nine holes in the conditions we had this morning, I would venture to say possibly almost nobody shot that well on that side," Jenkins said of Haddox's performance. "It was unbelievable playing to start his round but he did have a couple hiccups there in a stretch. On holes one through six there are some difficult holes and a couple teams are going to lose some shots, especially on six where it is a 220-yard par-three. I am not shocked to see him lose a couple shots but he hung in there and made a birdie on seven, so he did a good job for us."
Only UTEP's Martin Simonsen shot better on the back nine with a 4-under-par performance. With an even-par card on the front nine, the Miners' lead golfer led the field Monday with a 4-under-par score, jumping him 16 spots into second place at 4-under-par overall.
Jake Pritchard moved up eight spots on the individual leaderboard after carding a 3-over-par round Monday. The junior enters the final round tied for 33rd at 5-over-par (74-75=149).
Ben Robinson was 5-over-par in the second round and is sitting at 6-over-par overall in a tie for 41st while John Lewis Sams is 13-over-par (77-80=157) for the tournament to place him 63rd after an 8-over-par day Monday.
Louisiana Tech will tee off the final round of the tournament on Hole No. 10 - similar to Monday - as the Bulldogs will be paired with Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky. The threesome pairings are scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Tuesday, weather permitting.
As of press time for this article, the weather forecast was calling for 50 degrees, 12 mile per hour winds and a 75 percent chance of rain at 8 a.m. Tuesday. That chance of rain drops to 55 percent at 10 a.m. but Monday's forecast of thunderstorms in the afternoon yielded sunny skies along with strong winds.
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