Riding the momentum from its team win in the West Lafayette Regional, UNLV, No. 16 in the latest Golfstat rankings, surged to the top of the leaderboard with a 9-under 279 Saturday at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill. that gave the Runnin’ Rebels a 36-hole total of 14-under 562.
Another higher-ranked team, No. 17 Oklahoma, is a shot back of UNLV at 13-under 563 after matching the Rebels’ 9-under 279. The Sooners had opened with a 4-under 284 during Friday’s rain-delayed first round.
UNLV, which opened with a 5-under 283, and Oklahoma were two of the many teams that had an early wakeup call so they could return to Rich Harvest Farms to complete their opening round. For maybe the first time since the NCAA Women’s Championship teed off May 19, the weather cooperated in Sugar Grove, about 40 miles west of Chicago.
No. 8 Illinois, the Big Ten champion, is third at 11-under 565 after a 5-under 283. No. 20 Auburn, which carded a 4-under 284, is tied for fourth with No. 4 Vanderbilt, the Southeastern Conference champion which matched par with a 288, at 10-under 566.
There are some big guns lined up after that with No. 1 Southern California in sixth place at 9-under 567 after a 5-under 283, No. 6 LSU, with a sizzling 11-under 277, and No. 5 Baylor, with an 8-under 280, sharing seventh place at 8-under 568, and No. 3 Oklahoma State in ninth place at 7-under 569 after a 1-under 287. No. 18 Virginia rounds out the top 10 at 5-under 571 after a solid 5-under 283.
No. 48 Penn State improved on its opening-round 301 with a 6-over 294, but the Nittany Lions are in 28th place at 19-over 595. The team chase will be cut to the top 15 teams after Sunday’s third round and Penn State would need something special to climb into that top 15.
UNLV was led by John Oda, a junior from Honolulu, Hawaii, and Shintaro Ban, a junior from San Jose, Calif., both of whom are among a group of eight players tied for sixth at 6-under 138 in the individual chase. Oda carded a second straight 3-under 69 while Ban added a 4-under 68 to his opening-round 70.
Taylor Montgomery, a senior from Henderson, Nev., is tied for 28th at 2-under 142 after a 2-under 70, Harry Hall, a sophomore from England, is tied for 50th at even-par 144 after a second straight 72, and Justin Kim, a freshman from Fullerton, Calif., is tied for 99th at 5-under 149 after a 2-over 74.
The individual lead belongs to Texas’ Scottie Scheffler, a junior from Dallas who ripped off his second consecutive 68 over the 7,300-yard, par-72 Rich Harvest Farms layout for a 36-hole total of 6-under 138.
Four players are right on his heels tied for second at 7-under 137. They include Vanderbilt’s Matthias Schwab, a senior from Austria who posted a 2-under 70, Mississippi’s Braden Thornberry, a sophomore from Olive Branch, Miss. who had a 71 after a sizzling opening-round 66, Kent State’s Bjarki Petursson, a sophomore from Iceland who had a 3-under 69, and Southern Cal’s Justin Suh, a sophomore from San Jose, Calif. who added a 70 to his opening-round 67.
Junior Cole Miller, a former Northwestern Lehigh standout and the reigning Pennsylvania Amateur champion, led the way for Penn State with a 1-under 71 that left him tied for 62nd at 1-over 145. Miller is coming off an individual win in the Washington Regional.
Ryan Davis, a freshman from Berkeley Heights, N.J., matched Miller’s 71 and is tied for 80th at 3-over 147. Sophomore JD Hughes, a Carlisle product, is tied for 115th at 7-over 151 after a 3-over 75, Charles Huntzinger, a sophomore from Duluth, Ga., is tied for 134th at 153 after a 6-over 78, and Alec Bard, a freshman from New Hartford, N.Y., is tied for 147th at 156 after a 5-over 77.