NEWTON – Sophomore Ryley Haas finally stayed away from the big numbers that had be plaguing him through the first two rounds of the 2012 NJCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championship at Sand Creek Station on Thursday.
Haas put together his best round of the championship with a 1-over-par 73 on Thursday to lead the Blue Dragons on Day 3 of the 72-hole event.
The Blue Dragons shot a team round of 309 on Thursday to improve by one spot in the team standings. Hutchinson is now 15th overall with a 54-hole score of 928 (303-316-309). The Blue Dragons are 46 strokes off the lead of defending national champion Indian Hills, but are only 18 strokes away from a Top-10 finish.
Hutchinson will pair with Iowa Western and Scottsdale for the final 18 holes on Friday and will tee off from 9:45 a.m. to 10:21 a.m.
Through the first two days, Haas suffered two double-bogeys and one triple bogey to shoot 8-over par over his first 36 holes. On Thursday, Haas bogeyed No. 2, but caught fire with birdies at Nos. 3, 6 and 7 to make the turn at 2-under 34. Haas closed the round with three bogeys on the back nine as conditions drew tougher over the final nine holes because of an ever-increasing south wind.
Haas’ 73 tied for the team low round for the championship, matching Ben Cotton’s opening-round 73 on Tuesday. Haas is at plus-14 (230) and is tied for 49th.
Sophomore Mike Muller is the Blue Dragons’ highest-ranked player through 54 holes. He is tied for 41st at 7-over 229 after carding a 77 on Thursday, which followed back-to-back 76s in the opening two rounds. Muller had a round with five bogeys and two birdies.
Freshman Ben Cotton rebounded from his disastrous second round with a nine-stroke improvement on Thursday. Cotton had two bogeys and a double-bogey in a 4-over round of 76. Cotton is now tied for 68th at 18-over 234.
Freshman Trey Hayden is tied for 94th at 241 after a round of 83 on Thursday. Freshman Mason Varner is 101st at 247 after a round of 87 in the third round.
Varner will tee off in Friday’s final round at 9:45 a.m., followed by Hayden at 9:54, Cotton at 10:03, Haas at 10:12 and Muller at 10:21 a.m.
(HCC Sports Information)