PEARLAND – Sam Houston State jumped out to a one-stroke lead after the opening round and despite an over-par second round, the Bearkats remain right in contention through 36 holes at the Bayou City Collegiate Classic from the par-72, 7,254-yard GolfCrest Country Club.
The Kats sit in third at 2-under, 574, thanks to a standout performance from Jake McCrory (68-72), who sits in a four-way tie for second and three strokes back of the lead at 4-under, 140. The senior has now played under-par in three of his eight rounds this season.
William Holcomb (69-73) also is within striking distance of the lead in a tie for ninth after carding a 2-under, 142. The sophomore tapped in 28 pars on the day, one off the course leader, and was one of 11 players to shoot under par on the course’s par 4s.
As a team, Sam Houston is five strokes back of Arkansas State (7-under, 569) and four behind Lipscomb (6-under, 570) after firing a first-round 281 and second-round 293. The Bearkats led the 13-team field in scoring average on the course’s par 4s (4.03) and overall pars (121).
Austen Christiansen (71-76) and Noah Steele (75-72) are each part of a seven-way tie for 33rd at 3-over, 147. Both showcased several bright spots with Christiansen shooting under par in his opening round for the third straight tournament and Steele climbing ahead 20 spots thanks to an even-par second round.
Meanwhile, Levi Valadez (73-76) is tied for 47th at 5-over, 149, to round out the top-five. Adam Strom (77-73) is also competing individually for the first time with the Kats, moving up 18 spots during his second round, finishing tied for 51st at 6-over, 150. Camden DeBonis (78-76) is tied for 75th at 10-over, 154.
Elsewhere on the team leaderboard, UTSA is one stroke back of the Bearkats in fourth (1-under, 575) and Houston – who joins the Kats and Rice in hosting the event – rounds out the top-five at even-par, 576.
Head coach Brandt Kieschnick on the team’s performance…
“Jake McCrory was a great leader. This is his home course. He has a lot more course knowledge than all of us. I let him determine our lines and the way we played. We’ve been talking about coming here for three or four weeks. We won the first round and took the lead at 7-under and had some success in the second round. It’s playing easier for us because of his knowledge.”
Head coach Brandt Kieschnick on Jake McCrory’s opening 36 holes…
“He’s very comfortable on this course. He has three years of Division I golf. He’s more mature. What you saw today is what the professionals do. They have a game plan and stick to it. He showed great leadership and maturity. He made the golf course look pretty stress free.”
Head coach Brandt Kieschnick on what it will take to win on Tuesday…
“All five of these guys, and the individuals, it was a total team effort. They stuck to our game plan that Jake has guided. We feel really good. We are playing the course a little different and we feel like we have an advantage. If we play really solid, we think we can distance ourselves.”