Men’s Golf: Cavaliers maintain lead through 36 holes at NCAA Championships

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

Photo: UVA Athletics

After two rounds of play at the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships, Virginia holds down first place at 1-over 577. UVA posted a second-round score of 1-under 287 Saturday at the Omni La Costa Resort North Course in Carlsbad, Calif.  It marks the first time a Virginia team has led the event at the mid-point of stroke play.

Virginia holds a three-shot advantage over second-place Illinois and is six shots ahead of No. 3 Vanderbilt. Those were the only three teams to shoot under par during Saturday’s play.

Following Sunday’s third round, the field will be cut to 15 teams for the final round of stroke play on Monday that also decides the individual champion. The top eight teams from stroke play advance to the match play portion of the championships that takes place Tuesday (quarterfinals and semifinals) and Wednesday (finals). Last season, UVA reached match play and was eliminated by eventual NCAA Champion Florida 3-2 in the quarterfinals.

Through two rounds of competition, Virginia’s play has been consistent from top-to-bottom in its five-man lineup. UVA is the only team in the field to have posted just one score over bogey during the first two rounds that includes 180 holes of competition. That came during the opening round when Ben James carded a two-over six on the par-4 13th hole.

Senior George Duangmanee ended his round in second place overall at 2-under 142 after back-to-back scores of 71. Saturday, Duangmanee posted three consecutive birdies on holes 14, 15 and 16, a stretch of the course that has proven to be the most difficult for the field. He finished his round with four birdies and three bogeys.

“I thought I played pretty solid today,” said Duangmanee, who finished 79th at last year’s NCAA Championships. “I hit it off the tee into position on the fairways, and from there you can attack the pins. It’s a ball striking golf course, so hitting the fairways is a big advantage out here. I did play solid overall, so I’m happy with that.”

UVA All-American Ben James, the 2023 NCAA Freshman of the Year, also posted a second-round score of 71 by recording four birdies and three bogeys.

“The course is playing pretty hard,” James said. “It is firm and fast. I hit my driver really good today and made some putts. I was able to get out of trouble. I made some good bogeys when I was in trouble. That’s kind of the key, to keep the doubles off the card. That was my one goal, to eliminate the big numbers. I did that and took my medicine when I had to and I capitalized when I hit it into some good spots.”

Josh Duangmanee is tied with James at even par 144. That duo finished the the second round in seventh place. The younger Duangmanee shot 72 for the second consecutive day. Bryan Lee posted a 1-over 73 to be the Cavaliers’ fourth counter during the second round. He is tied for 34th place with teammate Deven Patel at 4-over 148. Patel shot 74 on Saturday.

“We played very solid again for the second day in a row,” said UVA head coach Bowen Sargent. “We’ve put up 10 good scores which is really important at a national championship. Ben (James) and George (Duangmanee) both shot 1-under which is great playing and then we had a 72, a 73 and a 74 in there. We played really solid, kept the ball in play and kept the ball in the fairway, which is a focus of ours. They followed the game plan very well.”

Sargent credits the team’s consistent scoring for positioning the Cavaliers at the top of the leaderboard.

“This is what you have to do at a national championship,” he said. “You have to play good one thru five. It’s hard to play with four guys or three guys certainly. We have depth and we have some guys (on the roster) sitting at home that are good. This team has eight or nine really good players, and these happen to be the guys who are here this week. It’s fun to watch.”

UVA will play its third round Sunday morning starting at 6:40 a.m. PT from the first tee. The Cavaliers will be paired with Illinois and Vanderbilt.

PING All-Region Honors

On Saturday, a trio of UVA players were named to the PING East All-Region team. That group included James, Lee and Patel. James repeated the honor after being named to the squad in 2023.

NCAA Championships
Omni La Costa Resort North Course
Carlsbad, Calif.
Par 72, 7,538 yards
Second-Round Results

Team Results
1. Virginia — 290-287-577

2. Illinois — 293-287-580
3. Vanderbilt — 297-286-583
4. Auburn — 293-293-586
5. North Carolina — 291-296-587
6. Ohio State — 294-294-588
6. Arizona — 290-298-588
6. Florida State — 299-289-588
9. Georgia Tech — 292-301-593
9. East Tennessee State — 296-297-593
11. Baylor — 297-299-596
12. Tennessee — 305-292-597
12. Texas — 296-301-597
12. Florida — 295-302-597
15. Stanford — 297-301-598
16. California — 304-296-600
17. Notre Dame — 296-305—601
18. Wake Forest — 298-304-602
19. Oklahoma — 301-302-603
20. Utah — 306-298-605
20. North Florida — 307-297-604
22. SMU — 303-302-605
22. Texas A&M — 298-307-605
22. New Mexico — 299-306-605
25. LSU — 301-306-607
26. Oklahoma State — 303-305-608
27. Clemson — 306-303-609
28. Texas Tech — 309-301-610
29. West Virginia — 307-304-611
30. Purdue — 310-310-620

Individual Leaders
1. Karl Vilips, Stanford — 69—68-137
2. George Duangmanee, Virginia — 71-71-142
2. Adam Wallin, Ohio State — 68-74-142

Virginia Results
2. George Duangmanee — 71-71-142
7. Ben James — 73-71-144
7. Josh Duangmanee — 72-72-144
34. Bryan Lee — 75-73-148
34. Deven Patel — 74-74-148