The Bucs doubled their first-round lead on the strength of strong performances from Adrian Meronk and Mateusz Gradecki. Meronk, the 18th-ranked golfer nationally, jumped two spots to second in the individual standings with a second straight 3-under 69 Monday and sits at 6-under 138, two shots back of Poston. Meronk overcame bogeys on two of the first four holes with three birdies and an eagle on the par-5 10th.
Gradecki turned in a 1-over 73 Monday to go along with his 68 from Sunday’s opening round, slipping one spot to fourth place. He is at 3-under 141 to give the Bucs two of the top four in the standings. As a team, ETSU enters the third round at 1-under 575 (286-289).
Poston, the wire-to-wire winner at the 2014 SoCon tournament, led his fifth straight round at the tournament, turning in five birdies Monday. The senior from Hickory, N.C., was working on his second straight blemish-free card before a bogey on 17 and a double-bogey on 18 cost him three strokes and tightened up the individual race. He currently sits at 8-under 136 after Sunday’s 66.
Dating back to the 2013 tournament, Poston has recorded six straight rounds of par or better at the annual SoCon event.
Mercer’s Trey Rule had the low round of the day with a 6-under 66, moving up seven spots on the leaderboard to third place at 5-under 139. Rule, the 2014 Atlantic Sun Conference champion, just missed a flawless card, notching an eagle on No. 10 and five birdies to more than compensate for his lone bogey of the day, on the par-4 No. 16.
In the team race, UNCG turned in the best round of the day with a 1-under 287 to move up two spots to second, six strokes back of ETSU at 5-over 581 (294-287). The Spartans had a consistent day with its four counting scores of 71, 71, 72 and 73, highlighted by Jake McGlone’s second straight 1-under 71. McGlone remained in a tie for fifth place at 2-under 142, while Roy Dixon (73-72) and Luke Haithcock (72-73) are tied for 11th at 1-over 145.
Chattanooga (291-293=584), which remained third after its 5-over 293 Monday, has two players in the top 10. Wes Gosselin (71-72) turned in an even-par 72 Monday and is tied for seventh at 1-under 143 after two rounds. Liam Johnston (74-70=144) is one stroke back after turning in a 2-under 70 Monday. With a nine-spot climb up the leaderboard, Johnston tied Western Carolina’s Tyler Lail (T-17th, 77-71=148) for the day’s largest jump.
Poston, Lail and Jackson Bishop helped Western Carolina move up two spots to fourth in the team standings. The Catamounts posted an even-par 288 Monday, with Bishop leaping five spots into a tie for 13th at 2-over 146 (74-72).
Wofford slipped three spots to fifth at 12-over 588 after an 11-over 299 Monday. Senior Brannan Hudson posted a 5-over 77 to drop from second into a tie for ninth at even-par 144.
Despite shaving four strokes off its score from Sunday, Mercer slid one spot to sixth at 590 (297-293).
Furman (300-292=592) remained in seventh place and has a pair of individuals in the top 10. Wehman Hopke (73-69) fired a 3-under 69 Monday to move up five spots into a tie for fifth at 2-under 142, turning in four birdies against just one bogey. Preston Cole (73-70=143) sits in a tie for seventh after a 2-under 70 Monday.
Samford took seven strokes off its Sunday with a 10-over 298 in Monday’s second round. The Bulldogs sit eighth at 603.
The tournament resumes Monday at 8 a.m. with Mercer, Wofford and Western Carolina going off of No. 1 at 10-minute intervals. Furman and Samford go off No. 10 at 8:20, followed by leaders ETSU, UNCG and Chattanooga at 8:50 off No. 1.
The winner will receive the SoCon’s automatic bid to the NCAA regionals, as will the individual champion if he is not part of the winning team.
Live stats can be found at http://golfstatresults.com/public/leaderboards/gsnav.cfm?pg=participants&tid=7208.
2015 Southern Conference Men’s Golf Championship
Pinehurst No. 9
Par 72, 7,091 yards
Place Team Rd1 Rd2 Total
1 ETSU 286 289 575
2 UNCG 294 287 581
3 Chattanooga 291 293 584
4 Western Carolina 298 288 586
5 Wofford 289 299 588
6 Mercer 297 293 590
7 Furman 300 292 592
8 Samford 305 298 603
Place Team Rd1 Rd2 Total
1 J.T. Poston, Western Carolina 66 70 136
2 Adrian Meronk, ETSU 69 69 138
3 Trey Rule, Mercer 73 66 139
4 Mateusz Gradecki, ETSU 68 73 141
T5 Jake McGlone, UNCG 71 71 142
T5 Wehman Hopke, Furman 73 69 142
T7 Preston Cole, Furman 73 70 143
T7 Wes Gosselin, Chattanooga 71 72 143
T9 Liam Johnston, Chattanooga 74 70 144
T9 Brannan Hudson, Wofford 67 77 144