Beavers Back In Contention After 11-Under Round At NCAA Regional
May 18, 2012
STANFORD, Calif. - Head coach Jon Reehoorn said the Oregon State men's golf team dug themselves a little hole after opening the NCAA Division I Men's Golf Stanford Regional with a 7-over 287. Not only did the Beavers climb out of that hole, they did it in a big way on Friday as they posted a season-best 11-under 269 to move into position for the prestigious top five spots heading into Saturday's final round.
The Beavers moved up from a tie for 10th place to seventh with a 4-under 287-269--556 through 36 holes of the three-day, 54-hole event and need to finish in the top five to advance to the NCAA Championships May 29-June 3 at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Pac-12 champion California (-14) and San Diego State (-13) look like they'll battle for the team title on Saturday, while the Beavers are four strokes back of Stanford and UAB (-8) and three behind Tennessee (-7) for the coveted top-five positions.
Saturday's important final round begins at 7:30 a.m. with the Beavers starting on the 10th hole at that time. Oregon State will be paired with UCF and Wichita State, teams sitting in eighth and ninth place, respectively.
The 11-under 269 is the second-best score of all 13 teams in the field through the first two rounds (San Diego State went 15-under on Friday). It also matches the Beavers' fifth best single team round in school history and betters the 8-under 352 it shot in the 6-count-5 Fresno State Lexus Classic in March.
"It was a lot of fun today," Reehoorn said. "I bounced around today instead of just walking with one guy and it seemed like every time I saw someone they were hitting great shots. The guys were a little down yesterday afternoon and we challenged them to finish off a round and they responded."
Junior Matt Rawitzer sent out a tweet right before his round that said: "feeling good and looking for a low one today." He found that low one as he carded a 5-under 65, his best round as a Beaver, that included an eagle, four birdies and just one bogey on the par-70, 6,742-yard Stanford Golf Course to move into a tie for 17th through two rounds with a 2-under 73-65--138.
Rawitzer, who transferred to Oregon State last spring, has gone under-par in three of his past five rounds (with two at the Pac-12 Championship) after finishing in red numbers just twice in his first 19 rounds. His previous best score at Oregon State was a 3-under 69 in the opening round of the Fresno State Lexus Classic in early March and his best at the University of Idaho was a 5-under 67 in both the first and second rounds at the Jackrabbit Invitational.
"Believe it or not, Matt has been fighting tonsillitis this week," Reehoorn said. "I knew he was struggling yesterday, but he was hiding how bad he felt from us. I realized it on the first tee today when he told me 'I feel almost 100%; yesterday I was about 30 percent.' In the van on the way to lunch he said 'it is a lot easier to putt when your head isn't spinning.'
"It is all about a comfort and confidence level," Reehoorn said about Rawitzer's recent strong play. "After transferring, he was trying way too hard to prove to everyone else that he belongs. He is much more comfortable now."
The other transfer, junior Nick Chianello, added another line to his Oregon State bio as he equaled his best round as a Beaver with a 4-under 66, doing it again on the Stanford Golf Course where he also shot a 66 in the opening round of the U.S. Intercollegiate in late March.
The triple-bogey he took on his final hole on Thursday didn't faze him a bit as he jumped out to 3-under through seven holes and birdied two of his final three holes to finish with a 66 and move into a tie for 14th place on the individual leader board, the highest among all Beavers' golfers, with a 3-under 71-66-137.
"I expected something special from Nick, to be honest," Reehoorn said. "He is hitting the ball so well right now and playing with a ton of confidence. He has the ability to shoot a really low number and I wouldn't be surprised if it happens again tomorrow."
Senior Jonnie Motomochi and sophomore David Fink shot identical scores for the second straight day, each finishing with a 1-under 69 after opening the tourney with a 3-over 73 to sit in a tie for 41st place on the player leader board.
Motomochi had three birdies and two bogeys on his front nine (holes 10-18) to go out with a 1-under 34 but fell back to even-par with a bogey on the par-3 third before ending his round in a positive way with a birdie on the par-4 ninth, the only Oregon State player to post a three on the final hole of the day.
Fink looked like his recent struggles were continuing after three bogeys and a birdie in his first nine holes, but he eagled the par-5 first hole, his 10th hole of the day, and added a birdie on the par-5 seventh to finish with a much-needed round in red numbers, his first subpar round since the Amer Ari Invitational the first week of February. The lefty missed four consecutive tournaments after the Amer Ari Invite with a wrist injury and Friday's 69 could be the confidence he needs heading into Saturday's final round.
The non-counting score for the Beavers on Friday was a 1-over 71 by junior Nick Sherwood that could have been a 3-under 67 without one bad hole, a snowman on the par-4 sixth. But he has been in the position of bouncing back before, having shot an 8-over 80 in the final round of the Pac-12 Championship before turning it around a week later with a 6-under 66 to win medalist honors at a U.S. Open local qualifier in Vancouver, Wash.
Sherwood is still third among Oregon State golfers on the leader board despite the quadruple-bogey, sitting in a tie for 33rd place with a 1-over 141, and has the talent and potential to shoot a shoot a team-best round on Saturday to lift the Beavers to the top five.
"It was a total team effort," Reehoorn said about Friday's round. "That is exactly what we are going to need to do tomorrow. Keep everyone in it from start to finish. We have nothing to lose. That is exactly how we need to keep playing; like we have nothing to lose."
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