EUGENE, Ore. – Saturday at the Eugene Country Club is going to be fun, exciting and interesting, as Oregon State golfers David Fink and Alex Franklin are both in position for the coveted one spot that receives an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.
The low individual at the NCAA West Regional in Eugene, who isn’t on one of the five top teams in the 13-team field, will advance to the NCAA Championships at the Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan., which will be held Friday, May 23 to Wednesday, May 28.
Fink carded four birdies in Friday’s second round, including chirps on his first and final holes, to fire a 1-under 69 and sits at even-par 140. Franklin is only two shots back after shooting a 2-over 70-72--142 over the two days at the par-70, 6,990-yard Eugene Country Club.
Stanford (-2), Oklahoma (+7) and Oregon (+9) look to be locks for three of the top five spots unless they blow up in Saturday’s final round. South Carolina (+19) is fourth and North Florida and Houston (+23) are currently tied for fifth. Chattanooga (+27) and East Tennessee State (+29) are seventh and eighth, respectively.
If the tournament ended today, Chris Robb of Chattanooga would earn the lone individual spot as he sits a single shot ahead of Fink with a 1-under 67-72--139. Rhys Pugh of East Tennessee State (1-over 141) and Niklas Lindstrom of Liberty (2-over 142) are also in the mix for the automatic individual bid.
Saturday’s final round will begin at 7:30 a.m. at the Eugene Country Club and admission is free to the public. Fink and Franklin will be paired together for the second straight day when they start on the 10th hole at 10:04 a.m.
Fink had the “look” when he walked to his first hole, the par-4, 401-yard 10th, on Friday. The lefty promptly hit a drive more than 300 yards down the middle of the fairway, threw a dart to a foot from the cup and tapped in for birdie to begin his outstanding round. After the quick start, Fink carded three more birdies, 11 pars and three bogeys to shoot a 1-under 69 in the second round of the three-day, 54-hole tournament and move him into a tie for fifth overall.
Franklin opened the tournament with an even-par 70 but looked to be out of contention for the automatic bid after a double-bogey and two singles that had him at 4 over through 11 holes of the second round. He held his composure and finished with five pars and birdies on the par-4 fourth and par-4 ninth holes for a 2-over 72. The junior transfer is tied for 10th on the individual leaderboard.
Player Leader Board
* player is participating as an individual rather than as a team member.
Course:Eugene Country Club: NCAA Men's Golf West Regional Par 70 - 6990 Yards