Even on the second day of Daylight Savings Time, there wasn’t quite enough daylight for Penn State and the 11 other teams in the field for the Colleton River Collegiate at the Colleton River Club’s Dye Course in Bluffton, S.C. to get in two rounds of golf Monday.
The Nittany Lions, ranked 41st in the latest Golfstat rankings and the highest-rated team in the field, struggled in windy conditions in the morning, carding a 15-over-par 303 over the 7,198-yard, par-72 Dye Course layout. But the conditions took their toll on everybody and Penn State trailed a quartet of first-round co-leaders by only seven shots.
Iowa State, which might be a little better than its No. 80 ranking might indicate, pulled away from the pack during the incomplete second round and, at 14-over, took a 14-shot lead over the field. All of the players had less than nine holes to play in their second round.
The Cyclones were in that group that posted an 8-over 296 total in the first round. They were at 6-over when play was halted, easily the best round of any others in progress. Miami of Ohio and No. 50 Michigan State, two of the other three teams that posted an opening-round 296, sit second and third at 28-over and 29-over, respectively.
No. 103 Cincinnati, led by individual leader Austin Squires, a junior from Union, Ky., is another shot behind Michigan State at 30-over. The Bearcats posted an opening-round 300 and were 18-over in the afternoon. No. 147 Rutgers, the fourth team that shared the opening-round lead with a 296, is another three shots behind Cincinnati in fifth at 33-over.
Penn State was 19-over in the second round when play was halted, actually one of the better rounds in progress, and is sitting in sixth place at 34-over. Making up 20 shots on Iowa State might be a tall order, but Big Ten rivals Michigan State, which the Lions trail by five, and Rutgers, which they trail by just a shot, are definitely in reach.
Iowa State had two players in the top four when play was halted. Lachlan Barker, a freshman from Australia, is alone in third, two shots behind Squires at 2-over. He opened with a 3-over 75 and had the best round going in the afternoon at 1-under. Sam Vincent, a sophomore from New Zealand, is in a group of five players tied for fourth at 3-over. Vincent matched par in the morning with a 72 and was 3-over in the afternoon.
Iowa State has two players in the group tied for 13th at 7-over, Denzel Ieremia, a redshirt senior from New Zealand, and Tripp Kinney, a sophomore from Waukee, Iowa. Ieremia carded an opening-round 77 and was 2-over in his afternoon round while Kinney opened with a 76 and was 3-over when play was called in afternoon.
Frank Lindwall, a freshman from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is tied for 17th at 8-over, but his 1-over 73 in the morning was the Cyclones’ second-best score and was a big reason Iowa State had a share of the lead at the end of the first round.
Squires fired a 2-under 70 in the opening round and was 2-over in the afternoon. At even-par, he held a one-shot lead on the field.
Miami of Ohio’s Charlie Nikitas, a freshman from Glenview, Ill., equaled Squires for the low round of the morning with a 2-under 70 and was 3-over for the afternoon to hold second at 1-over, a shot behind Squires.
Penn State had two players joining Iowa State’s Vincent in the quintet tied for fourth at 3-over, led by senior Cole Miller, a former Northwestern Lehigh standout. Alec Bard, a sophomore from New Hartford, N.Y., who is competing as an individual, is also at 3-over with three holes to play after gaining a share of the opening-round lead with a career-low 2-under 70.
Miller, who captured the 2016 Pennsylvania Amateur at Moselem Springs Golf Club, starting heating up around this time last year and rode the wave all the way to the individual title in the Washington Regional at Aldarra Golf Club in Sammamish, Wash. Miller opened with a 2-over 74 Monday, but was 1-over with just two holes to play in his afternoon round to join the group at 3-over.
Junior JD Hughes, a former Carlisle standout who won the Pennsylvania Amateur last summer at White Manor Country Club, is tied for 17th at 8-over. He opened with a 4-over 76 and was 4-over in the afternoon. Ryan Davis, a sophomore from Berkeley Heights, N.J., matched Hughes’ 76 in the morning, was 6-over in the afternoon and stood in the group tied for 28th at 10-over.
Charles Huntzinger, a junior from Duluth, Ga., struggled over the Dye Course. He is tied for 45th at 14-over after opening with a 77 and going 9-over in the afternoon. Huntzinger has been a stalwart for Greg Nye’s Lions for three years. He won’t stay down for long.
Junior Ryan Dornes, the runnerup in the 2014 PIAA Class AAA Championship as a senior at Manheim Township, is tied for 62nd after opening with an 80 and going 8-over in the afternoon. Dornes was playing some great golf at this time last spring when a hand injury ended his season. Penn State somehow made it to the NCAA Championship without him. The Lions might be even better this spring with him.
Rounding out the group tied for fourth at 3-over are Miami of Ohio’s Brian Ohr, a redshirt senior from Northbrook, Ill., and Cincinnati’s Andy Mayhew, a redshirt freshman from Dayton, Ohio.
Orr was the fourth player with a share of the opening-round lead with a 2-under 70, but was struggling a little in the afternoon at 5-over. Mayhew carded a 3-over 75 in the morning and had it going at even-par in the afternoon.