May 8, 2012
LITCHFIELD PARK, Ariz. -
Sandy Vaughan (Jr., Seattle/O'Dea) fired a 3-under par 69 and Nick Varelia (Sr., Kent/Kentwood) posted a 2-under 70, helping the Western Washington University men's golf team move up one spot to fifth as it heads into final-day play Wednesday at the NCAA Division II Central/West Regional being held at the Wigwam Golf and Country Club's Gold Course.
The top five teams advance to the NCAA II National Championships on May 15-19 at The Cardinal Club in Louisville, Kentucky.
The Vikings shot an even par 288 Tuesday, tied for the second-best round of the day, for a 36-hole total of 579.
Chico State, which led by 10 strokes after Monday's first round, had that margin cut to four as it shot 6-over 294 for a 567 total. The Wildcats fired an opening-round 15-under 273.
Colorado Mines is second at 571 (288) in the 20-team field. Host Grand Canyon, which had the day's best round of 287, is third at 572 with Cal State Stanislaus fourth at 577 (294).
In sixth at 584 (294), five strokes behind WWU is defending regional and national champion Cal State Monterey Bay. The Otters are eight shots ahead of seventh-place Colorado State-Pueblo (297=592)
"I feel like we're playing solid," said WWU coach Steve Card (19th year). "We were close to having that really good round and we had a much better start than Monday."
"If we can play a good round of golf (Wednesday), we can get to where we want to go."
Vaughan's 69, which included six birdies and three bogeys, helped him move up 27 places. He and Varelia are tied for 15th at even par 144.
"Sandy got off to a great start and then scrambled for some pars," Card said.
WWU's Dylan Goodwin (Jr., Mukilteo/Kamiak) fell from a tie for sixth to 17th at 145 (76). Craig Crawford (So., Stanwood/Highland Christian) is tied for 18th at 146 (73) and Jake Webb (Jr., Issaquah/Skyline), who has been ill, is tied for 90th (78).
Colorado Mines' Jim Knous leads in medalist play, shooting 2-under 70 for an overall 8-under 136. First-day leader Kyle Souza from Chico State is one-shot behind at 137 following an even par 72. Chico State's Eric Frazzetta is third at 6-under 138 (71).
The 54-hole tournament is one of four regionals taking place across the country.
This is the 14th straight NCAA II post-season appearance for the Vikings, who are looking to advance to nationals for the first time since 2008.