Sophomore Julien Brun was in top form on moving day at the NCAA Championship.
May 29, 2013
PHOTO GALLERY | LIVE RESULTS
MILTON, Ga.—TCU put its NCAA Championship opening-round woes behind it Wednesday morning, moving back into contention during Round 2 play at The Capital City Club’s Crabapple Course. Sophomore Julien Brun matched the low round of the day to soar up the individual leaderboard.
The Horned Frogs, who entered the day in dead last place following a 14-over par opening round Tuesday, responded with a much-needed stellar performance Wednesday to move into a tie for 15th place on the team leaderboard. The squad posted an 8-under 272, tied for the third-best score of the day, and is now only six shots out of the all-important No. 8 position. The top-8 teams in the stroke-play portion of the championship advance to match play.
“I’m proud of the way our guys were able to bounce back today,” head coach Bill Montigel said. “We really had our backs against the wall and responded just like I knew we could. Today’s performance gives us a shot tomorrow, and that’s all you can ask for.”
“We had one of our worst rounds of the year yesterday, but I knew we’d rebound today just because of the type of guys we have on this team,” senior Eli Cole said. “It gives us a chance. I’m just glad we were able to do it when it counted the most.”
TCU started the morning strong, climbing at one point to -14 on its round before entering the course’s most difficult stretch on holes 14 through 18. The squad’s second-round success was built on faring much better on holes 1 through 9, combining to go -9 compared to its +2 showing on Tuesday. The same five holes that proved to be TCU’s undoing in Round 1 (14 through 18) again did their damage Wednesday, but not nearly to the severity as the previous day.
Brun rebounded from a sub-par opening round of 74 with a signature performance Wednesday. He carded a 6-under 64 to match Arkansas’ Nicholas Echavarria for the low individual round of the day while moving up nearly 100 spots on the leaderboard into a tie for 24th place at -2 overall. The round marked the low individual score of Brun’s Frog career on a par-70 course while tying for his second-best overall versus par since he arrived on campus.
Brun helped propel TCU to its quick start with birdies on four of the first five holes. He later birdied the 567-yard, par-5 12th while adding another at 17 to move to -6 on the day. He finished the day bogey-free thanks to spectacular par saves on two of the course’s most difficult holes, the par-3 15th and 480-yard, uphill par-4 16th.
“My putting was really good today, but really what helped me was my start,” Brun said. “You really have to take advantage of the birdie opportunities in the first few holes, and that’s what I was able to do.
“The save on 15 really helped me keep my round going. I had two birdie tries before that hole that I didn’t make, and if I end up with a bogey on 15 it could have gotten ugly. The next save on 16 also was big. I came back from that to make birdie on 17.”
Wednesday’s individual effort has boosted Brun into contention for the NCAA individual championship, a title that eluded him last year when he tied for second at Riviera. He will enter the final round trailing the individual leader, Arizona State’s John Rahm, by five shots.
While Brun posted the best round by a Frog on Wednesday, senior Eli Cole stated his case for the best turnaround. The Beverly Hills, Calif., native regrouped from a 6-over 76 with a 2-under 68 to climb nearly 50 spots on the leaderboard into a tie for 88th at +4 overall. He made five birdies on the day after failing to card even one in the opening round.
Like Brun, Cole got off to a fast start with birdies on the first two holes, then added two more on Nos. 11 and 12. He played the final three holes at +1 after posting bogeys on each Tuesday.
“We got to tee off in the morning when the greens were a little bit softer and the wind a bit calmer,” Cole said. “There aren’t too many birdie opportunities out here, so when you get that shot you have to take advantage. I’m glad that I was able to make a few early out there. I was just more committed to my shots today and a little more imaginative with what I was trying to do.”
Seniors Pontus Gad and Daniel Jennevret rounded out the TCU team scoring with a pair of solid even-par rounds of 70, as both Frogs improved upon first-round efforts.
Jennevret, who posted the Frogs’ top score in Round 1 of 72, took advantage of Wednesday’s ideal early conditions on the front nine. He made the turn at -3 following a birdie on the par-3 third and an eagle after driving the green on the 320-yard, par-4 fifth hole. He later added another birdie on hole 12 before dropping back to even on his round with four consecutive bogeys on holes 14 through 17. Jennevret is currently second among Frogs on the individual leaderboard in a tie for 58th.
Gad opened his round with a par and bogey on hole 2 before dipping into red figures for the first time this week with back-to-back birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. Like Jennevert, he also added a birdie on No. 11 before dropping back to even with consecutive bogeys on holes 15 and 16. He finished the second day four strokes better than his opening round and sits alongside Cole in a tie for 88th place.
Freshman Paul Barjon also benefitted from the early playing conditions, posting a 2-over 72 Wednesday after opening the tournament with a 74. He was -1 on the front 9 but dropped three strokes on the backside. Barjon is tied for 113th place overall (+6).
The Frogs conclude the stroke-play portion of the NCAA Championship Thursday. The squad earned the last spot in the afternoon wave of teams for the third round after winning a tiebreaker with New Mexico and will tee off at about 2 p.m. EDT.
2013 NCAA MEN’S GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP
The Capital City Club – Crabapple Course (Milton, Ga.)
May 29, 2013
Round 2 Results
TEAM LEADERBOARD (30 teams)
1. Georgia Tech – (-12; 274-272=548)
5. Cal – (-11; 277-272=549)
3. Texas – (-10; 279-271=550)
4. Alabama – (-9; 275-276=551)
5. Arkansas – (-3; 286-271=557)
Illinois – (-3; 276-281=557)
t15. TCU – (+6; 294-272=566)
INDIVIDUAL LEADERBOARD (156 competitors)
1. Jon Rahm, Arizona State – (-7; 61-72=133)
2. Greg Eason, UCF (-6; 68-66=134)
Nicholas Echavarria, Arkansas – (-6; 70-64=134)
4. Brandon Hagy, Cal – (-5; 66-69=135)
Max Homa, Cal – (-5; 70-65=135)
Rick Lamb, Tennessee – (-5; 68-67=135)
Ollie Schniederjans, Georgia Tech – (-5; 67-68=135)
Justin Thomas, Alabama (-5; 67-68-135)
t24. Julien Brun, TCU – (-2; 74-64=138)
t58. Daniel Jennevret, TCU – (+2; 72-7=142)
t88. Eli Cole, TCU – (+4; 76-68=144)
t88. Pontus Gad, TCU – (+4; 74-70=144)
t113. Paul Barjon, TCU – (+6; 74-72=146)