With Cole Miller again leading the way, Penn State doggedly held on to the top spot in the team standings Saturday after two rounds of the Seminole Intercollegiate at the Southwood Golf Course in Tallahassee, Fla.
Miller, a junior who starred scholastically at Northwestern Lehigh, retained a share of the individual lead with a 5-under-par 67 and led the Nittany Lions, No. 56 in the latest Golfstat rankings, to an 11-under 277 that gives them a 36-hole total of 26-under 550 and a two-shot lead over host Florida State.
Greg Nye’s Nittany Lions earned a bid to the NCAA regionals a year ago and this year’s edition looks like it is building a case for a return trip.
Miller, who won the Pennsylvania Amateur title last summer at Moselem Springs Golf Club, had opened with a spectacular 6-under 66 in Friday’s opening round. His 5-under 67 over the 7,172-yard, par-72 Southwood layout Saturday leaves him at 11-under 133. Florida State’s Henry Ellis, a redshirt junior from England, caught Miller with a 6-under 66 in the second round that got him to 11-under 133.
Ellis led the Seminoles, ranked 30th, to a 10-under 278 for a 24-under 552 total. No. 25 Georgia Tech carded an 8-under 280 and is another four shots behind Florida State in third at 20-under 556. No. 67 Troy had the best round of the day, a 12-under 276, and is in fourth place at 15-under 561. No. 20 West Virginia posted a 2-under 286 and is in fifth at 13-under 563.
Penn State has another player in the top 10 as Charles Huntzinger, a sophomore from Duluth, Ga., fired a 3-under 69 and is tied for 10th at 5-under 139. Ryan Davis, a freshman from Berkeley Heights, N.J., matched par with a 72 and is tied for 19th at 3-under 141.
Sophomore Ryan Dornes, a former Manheim Township standout, matched Huntzinger’s 3-under 69 to climb into a tied for 25th at 2-under 142. Christian Elliott, a senior from Canada, had opened with a career-best 68 Friday, but fell back with a 78 in the second round and is tied for 45th at 2-over 146.
JD Hughes, a sophomore from Carlisle, is competing as an individual and carded a second straight 72 and is tied for 37th at even-par 144.
Miller and Ellis built a four-shot edge on a group of five players tied for third at 7-under 137. That group includes the Georgia Tech pair of Luke Schniederjans, a freshman from Powder Springs, Ga., and James Clark, a junior from Columbus, Ga. Schniederjans was tied with Miller for the lead after matching his opening-round 66, but fell back with a 1-under 71. Clark added a 4-under 68 to his opening-round 69.
A pair of Troy players, Cam Norman, a senior from Greenville, Ala., and Jared Bettcher, a senior from Auburn, Ala., are also in the group at 7-under. Norman fired a sizzling 6-under 66 Saturday while Bettcher added a 2-under 70 to his opening-round 67.
Rounding out the quintet at 7-under is Jacksonville’s David Wicks, a senior from England who had a 2-under 70 after opening with a 67.