CHAUTAUQUA, NY — Upon knocking in a short putt to end his second round of the NJCAA Division III Golf Championships on Wednesday afternoon, Georgia Military College sophomore Tanner Casey picked the ball out of the cup on the 18th green and acknowledged the cheers from a handful of Bulldog supporters. The defending champions had plenty to be happy about.
Sparked by five sub-80 rounds, Georgia Military College fashioned a 303 and stands at 621 for the tournament, four shots in front of Vincennes University at the halfway point on the Lake Course at Chautauqua Golf Club.
"It's exactly what we were looking for," Bulldogs coach Josh Miller said. "Everybody played well today. Just a solid round." Leading the way was Trey May, whose second straight 75 earned him medalist honors after 36 holes. Casey also turned in a 75, while teammates Luke Ninneman (77), John James (76) and Niklas Frimodig (79) all finished in the 70s. Frimodig's 79 was tossed out.
"(Casey) kind of relaxes everybody just because of his personality," Miller said. "I put our freshman with him during the practice round, telling people where to hit it and where not to hit it, which is the biggest thing. He just kind of showed them the ropes."
Vincennes' round was highlighted by an even-par 72 by Keegan McCullough — 10 shots better than his Tuesday performance — that was the best of the day as the Trailblazers shot a 307.
Other scores for the Indiana school were a 76 by Zack Hall, a 77 by Jacob English, an 82 by Tuesday medalist Zach Breault and an 83 by Joe Allbright, which was tossed out. Vincennes, which was tied with Georgia Military after the first round, stands at 625 for the tournament.
Sandhills Community College (638) is in third place after a second-round 314, followed by Minnesota State Community and Technical College (639), which produced a second-round 318.
The push for tournament medalist is a close one. May leads by two shots over Dan Lapp of Tompkins-Cortland and Mason Landborg of Minnesota State Community and Technical College; three shots over Breault and Thomas Weir of Delaware CC; and four in front of Casey, McCullough and Andrew Gutierrez of Union CC.
Vincennes University's Zach Breault hits his approach shot on the fifth hole in Wednesday's second round of the NJCAA Division III National Golf Championships on the Lake Course at Chautauqua Golf Club. P-J photo by Scott Kindberg
Jamestown CC's Anthony Miller shot an 82 and is tied for 21st place with a two-day 160 total. "He grinded it out," Jayhawks coach Dan Vona said. "He wasn't making the putts like yesterday. I was proud of him, because he could have been in a position where he could have gone a little bit higher."
Dillan LaBarbera recorded an 83 and Nick Mole authored an 82 and are tied for 41st and tied for 69th, respectively. Mole's round was particularly impressive as he shaved 16 strokes off his Tuesday score.
"I'm ecstatic," Vona said. "I (was) high-fiving them. … We have this connection. It's great."
Georgia Military's Miller feels pretty good, too. "We'll get to see (Vincennes and Sandhills grouped) right there with us (today), so we know what we have to do," he said. "These guys are competitive and it's always good when you know the guys next to you are nipping at your heels."
The Bulldog's are looking to stretch their lead in the third round as they attempt to repeat as the NJCAA Men's Division III National Champions. The fourth and final round is scheduled for Friday, June 8th.
Georgia Military College 318-303-621
Vincennes University 318-307-625
Sandhills CC 324-314-638
Minnesota State CC 321-318-639
CC of Morris 326-320-646
Bucks County CC 333-330-663
SUNY Adirondack 335-334-669
Massasoit CC 327-342-669
Onondaga CC 336-338-674
Anne Arundel CC 344-334-678
College of DuPage 357-342-699
Nassau CC 347-354-701