By Brian Thiessen, NAIA Media Coordinator
Silvis, Ill. -- (Team Results | Individual Results | Third Round Pairings | Video Recap) S.M. Lee of Dalton State (Ga.) opened up a two-shot lead after the second round of the 2018 NAIA Men's Golf National Championship played at TPC Deere Run.
After shooting a 2-under 69 in Tuesday's opening round, Lee came back with a 68 Wednesday for a 5-under 137.
"This course can definitely get to you," Lee said. "The pins were a lot harder today. I didn't feel like I played my best Tuesday, but I felt like I played my best today, even though I was only one shot better."
Lee holds a two-shot advantage over Ben Kendrick of Cumberlands (Ky.). Three other players, including Jack Dyer of Keiser (Fla.), sit just three shots off the pace. Dyer held the first-round lead after carding an opening-day 66. He followed with a 74 for a 2-under 140. Andrew Williamson of Wayland Baptist (Texas) and Erik Jonasson of Keiser also have 140s.
The best round of the day went to Brian Murtagh of Cardinal Stritch (Wis.). He fired a 5-under 66, matching Dyer's total from Day 1 as the low score of the tournament. Murtagh, who opened with a 76 Tuesday, won medalist honors on the same course just three weeks ago at the CCAC Tournament. Then, he closed with a course-record 63 to win the conference title. Wednesday, he finished his round with birdies at No. 7, 8 and 9 to get to even-par 142 for the tournament.
Coastal Georgia, which entered the day a shot behind Keiser, ended Wednesday with a one-shot lead in the team race. The Mariners followed their opening-day 280 with a 285 to sit at 3-under with a 565.
"The course was a little tougher today. The greens are speeding up. They're still holding on, thank goodness, but they are definitely speeding up," Coastal Georgia head coach Mike Cook said.
"We're in good position halfway through; this is where we wanted to be," Cook continued. "This is a
Behind Lee, Dalton State is the only other team under par at the tournament's halfway point. The Roadrunners have put together rounds of 284 and 282 to sit 2-under with a 566.
"We all played well today," Lee said. "I'm proud of this team. We've been playing well recently and we're grinding it out here. We still have two more days to go so we'll see what happens."
Keiser followed its first-round leading 279 with a 293 to fall back into a third-place tie for Oklahoma City with matching 572s. Texas Wesleyan is fifth with a 576.
St. Ambrose University and the Quad Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau are serving as hosts of the National Championship, which are being competed at TPC Deere Run, the host course for the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic, for the third straight year and the sixth time in the last 10 years.
The field will be cut to the top 17 teams and 40 individuals plus ties after Thursday's round, which tees off at 7:30 a.m. CT.