Eckroat, a sophomore on the Oklahoma State from Edmond, Okla., posted his second round under-par to take a three stroke lead into the final 36-holes; Washington State Golf Association wins Morse Cup team competition by a single-stroke
Eckroat got off to a tremendous start, making birdie on his first two holes to get into the red numbers early.
With birdie on the sixth hole to get it to three-under on the day and nine-under overall, Eckroat was in total cruise control.
He would make a single bogey on the day at the iconic par-3 eighth to post a front-nine 33. After making another two birdies coming in, Eckroat would become the only player to reach double digits under par for the tournament at 10-under (65-67-132).
Trailing Eckroat by three shots is Scarsdale, New York’s Brandon Wu. Wu, a member of the Stanford men’s golf team and a late entry into the event, has posted rounds of 67-68 (135; -7). Wu has made only a single bogey during the first two rounds and it came on his final hole of today’s second round.
William Gordon of Davidson, North Carolina, sits four strokes behind Eckroat at -6 (67-69-136) and will round out the final group tomorrow during round three.
Sitting well within reach to make a strike for Eckroat’s lead are Winter Garden, Fla. native Andy Zhang (67-70-137; -5) and five players at -4, including local favorite and one of the three lead Californians, Shintaro Ban of San Jose.
After getting off to a modest start yesterday at even-par, Ban popped off a four-under-par 67 (71-67-138; -4) to get into contention with two rounds to go in the 72-hole stroke play competition.
With plenty of golf left to play, the leaderboard is jam packed with exceptional local and international talent. There are 23 players sitting below par. All in attendance are waiting for the other shoe to drop at the famed and notoriously brutal Lake Course, a reality that will no doubt be realized over the final push of the event.
In the team competition, the trio from the Washington State Golf Association (WSGA), captured the Morse Cup trophy by a single stroke. Team members Reid Hatley (Hayden Lake, Idaho), Joe Highsmith (Lakewood, Wash.) and Eric Ansett (Spokane, Wash.) became the first team from the WSGA to win the 36-hole team competition since 2009.
In a tight race, the WSGA needed a par-saving, 15-foot downhill sliding putt from Highsmith to capture the title. Stepping up with complete confidence, Highsmith calmly poured it into the heart of the hole with onlookers cheering.
The runner-up team in arguably the toughest competitive field in Pacific Coast Amateur history for team play, was from the host Northern California Golf Association.
Round three will begin tomorrow at 7:30am. A cut to the low 70 players and ties will take place following tomorrow’s round.