BRASELTON, Ga. – Led by senior Sam Ryder, the Stetson Hatters made a strong push up the leaderboard in the second round of the Atlantic Sun Conference Golf Championship on Tuesday.
Stetson had surged to fifth place, within three shots of Florida Gulf Coast for fourth, before a trio of bogeys on the final hole of the day dropped the Hatters to seventh. Stetson’s second round score of 295 tied for third on the day.
Ryder made a serious charge up the leaderboard, entering play on Tuesday tied for 16th. His four-under par round of 68 allowed him to move to third, five shots behind tournament leader Sean Dale of North Florida.
“I knew there were a couple of good scores, so I knew that I had to go a few under par to get myself in contention going into the last day,” Ryder said. “I dug myself a little hole with a two-over yesterday.”
UNF’s Kevin Aylwin fired a low round of 67 on Tuesday and Dale posted his second under-par round of 69 to help the No. 13 Ospreys extend their lead to 10 shots over the 10-team field.
UNF (573) posted its second under-par team score of 286 to lead defending champion Kennesaw State (583) and ETSU (583) by 10 strokes. FGCU (596), Mercer (600), USC Upstate (601), Stetson (602), Jacksonville (607), Lipscomb (614) and Belmont (615) round out the field.
Dale, ranked No. 17 by Golfstat.com, is the only player to post two under-par rounds (68-69; 137) and leads the individual standings at seven-under-par. Aylwin, ranked 67th by Golfstat.com, fired the two-day low of 67 on Tuesday to occupy second position (139), followed by Ryder (142).
Ryder said he went to the course looking to have fun on Tuesday and, even though he had a bogey on the final hole, he gave himself a chance to be in the hunt during the final round.
“I have a bad taste in my mouth because I bogeyed the last hole from 220 yards out,” Ryder said. “I had one bad drive that cost me on No. 4 and made double there but, other than that, I was playing from the fairway and made a few putts.”
Ryder said his plan for the final round of the tournament will be the same as it was on Tuesday.
“I think I need to do the same thing I did today,” Ryder said. “I had a couple of swings today that cost me, so I need to minimize those mistakes tomorrow. I just need to get my irons close to the pins and make a few putts.”
Behind Ryder, Stetson senior Micah Jacobson posted an even par round of 72 on Tuesday that featured two birdies and two bogeys, including one on the final hole. Hatters’ senior Andrew Schiano finished his second round with a three-over par 75 that, like his class mates, included a bogey on the par 5 ninth hole, which was Stetson’s finishing hole.
Sophomore Matt Taylor had an eight-over 80 on Tuesday and freshman Tyler White finished with an 86 that included a nine on that pesky last hole.
The Hatters will open play in the final round once again on No. 10 with tee times starting at 8 a.m. on Wednesday
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