STOCKTON, CA (KAUZ) - Midwestern State junior Sierra Campbell played even-par golf over the final 13 holes of the second round of the NCAA Division II Super Region Championships played at the par-71, 5,931-yard Brookside Country Club.
The Rio Rancho, N.M. native sunk a 15-foot birdie putt on Hole No. 16 to pull into a tie for 19th, carding a one-over 73 to combine with an opening round 75 for a total of 148 (+4).
"This region is showing it is very competitive," MSU assistant coach Derek Oland said. "Sierra played a lot better today and hit more greens, but this course is tough. The scores these girls are putting up are unbelievable."
Tarleton State tops the team leader board carding rounds of 294 and 288 for a two-round total of 582 (+6). The TexAnns hold a narrow two-stroke edge over West Texas A&M (584/+9) while Sonoma State (588/+12), Dallas Baptist (590/+14), California Baptist (595/+19) and Western Washington (595/+19) fill out the first five.
The top three teams and top three student-athletes not with a team from each regional advance to the finals from May 18-21 at the Commonground Golf Course in Aurora, Colo.
Campbell is currently six strokes behind the third player not on a team with an advancing score. Through two rounds, the top players are tournament leading Sydney Williams of Dallas Baptist (72-68 140/-4) and St. Edward's Ana Sofia Benavides (69-71 140/-4).
Dallas Baptist's Ann Parmerter (69-73 142/-2) would be the third individual player to advance.
Campbell has shown great consistency marking pars on 28 of the first 36 holes during the tournament.
"The course is very demanding off of the tee. If you do hit the fairway, you are playing for par," Oland said. "That being said, Sierra played a lot better than a 73 today. She has the ability to grind and had a lot of good par saves. She was able to hit greens in regulation today, but was not getting super close to the hole."
Campbell demonstrated the grit with a great par save on the par-5, 489-yard Hole No. 7, hitting the ball into a hazard before scrambling to save par.
Overall, she has played the five par-5s in 1-under and the five par-3s to even par.
"Sierra grinds and never gives up," Oland said. "She never loses focus and has a lot of fight in her. The last six holes today were really good. I think that is going to set up tomorrow. She is driving the ball very well. It's just a matter of getting the putts to drop."
Campbell begins the Wednesday's final round with an 11:20 a.m. (Central Time) tee time on Hole No. 1.
Midwestern State showed marked improvement over a tough opening round in the NCAA Division II West/South Central Region Championship Tuesday at the par-71, 7,162-yard New Mexico State University Golf Course in Las Cruces.
"The guys showed a lot of heart today," MSU coach Jeff Ray said. "After yesterday's round we could have easily just given up. Not sure what the difference was today. The weather and course set up was the same."
Each player recorded a better score as the Mustangs marked an 11-over total of 295 which was 16 strokes better than their first round score. MSU sits two strokes behind 19th-place Regis (Colo.) heading into Wednesday's final round.
The top five teams and two individuals not on those squads advance to the NCAA Division II Championships at Green Valley Ranch Golf Club in Denver as part of the NCAA Spring Sports Festival from May 17-21.
Juniors Jared Baker and Thomas Smith fired sub-par scores over the back nine to finish with matching two-over 73s.
"Jared and Tom both finished strong for us," Ray said. "Jared birdied 12 and 15 after being 4 over after 11. Tom birdied 14 and 16. We seemed to finally figure out the speed of the greens."
Baker, who improved by three strokes in the second round, matched fellow junior Colton Dorion for team tops on the individual leader board with 7-over, two-round totals of 149, while Smith tied for 60th one stroke back.
Dorion delivered the shot of the day, hitting a hybrid to within 3 inches on the par-5, 495-yard Hole No. 8 tapping in for birdie. The Surrey, British Columbia native was a stroke better than his team-best 75 in the opening round.
Freshman Chance Craig rebounded to card a 4-over 75, while senior Ian Gallagher marked four birdies on his way to a 5-over 76.
Oklahoma Christian remains atop the team leader board with a two-round total of 572 (+4). The Eagles are a shot better than Chico State (573/+5) while California State-Monterey Bay (581/+13), BYU-Hawaii (581/+13) and Sonoma State (584/+16) round out the top five.
Midwestern State opens final round play teeing off from Hole No. 1 at 8:30 a.m. (Central Time).