Sept. 22, 2012
FRANKLIN, Tenn. - The Rice tandem of sophomore Joe Beck III and freshman James Lee both shot identical one-under par rounds of 70 to lead the Owl golfers to the fifth-best team score of the day, a three-over par 287, in Saturday's second round of action at the prestigious Mason Rudolph Championship in Franklin, Tenn.
Teeing off on the 10th hole to start the second round of the three-day tournament, Lee and Beck III both fired 70s. The scores are the best two individual rounds by the Owls so far this young season. Beck III bogeyed two of his first three holes, but rallied to shoot three under over the next 15. The Austin, Tex., native is tied for 36th on the individual leaderboard with a two-round total of 147 (+5).
Lee meanwhile bounced back from a 10-over par 81 in Friday's opening round by playing four-under over a 10-hole stretch on Saturday. The rookie from Albuquerque, New Mexico, has a 36-hole total of 151 (+9).
Senior Brock Wilson improved seven shots from his opening round to card a two-over 73 (153 total, +11). Junior Landon Michelson closed out the charge with a 74. The transfer from Birmingham Southern College is the top Owl in the individual standings, holding a tie for 20th in the 84-player field with a two-round total of three-over par 145. Sophomore Tommy Economou's two-round total is 155 (+13).
Counting the top four players towards the team score, Rice posted a steady 287 that vaulted the Blue & Gray from 15th place in Friday's standings to eleventh on Saturday. The Owls are 22 shots off the lead of tournament host Vanderbilt playing on their home course (564, -4).
Rice head coach Justin Emil was pleased with the Owls' effort Saturday, which was under some challenging course conditions. He said the team now has a chance to do some more moving on Sunday's final 18 holes at the 7100-yard, Legends South Golf Course.
"The team played solid today on a very tough setup," coach Emil said. "The hole locations today were in the toughest positions and we had a totally different wind direction today from yesterday. James, Joe and Brock did a great job of bouncing back after tough first rounds. They were very focused today.
"Tomorrow we have another chance to climb the board," coach Emil added. "We left a lot of shots on the course and our best round is still out there."