WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Midwestern State rode the hot play of senior Thomas Smith to jump out to the early lead Monday afternoon in the MSU Invitational played at the par-71, 6,882-yard Wichita Falls Country Club.
But the steady hand of fellow senior Jared Baker kept the Mustangs close to the top of the leaderboard as high winds whipped flags and influenced drives while pushing temperatures up to unseasonable levels.
MSU delivered a 10-over 294 in the opening then slipped to a 302 in the second for a 30-over, 36-hole hole total of 596 (+28) to stand seven strokes behind tournament leading St. Mary's (Texas) which recorded scores of 297 and 292 for a total of 589 (+21).
Southeastern Oklahoma made its move with a tournament-low 289 in the second round to pull into a tie with Midwestern State heading into Tuesday's final round which begins with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m.
Smith marked three birdies on a clean back nine in the opening round to finish in the red with a 1-under 70. It was just one of two sub-par scores in the opening round, but the Stoke-on-Trent, England native struggled to a second-round 80 to tie for 17th with a total of 150 (+8).
Meanwhile, Baker's steady approach allowed him to pile up 26 pars and improve from a 2-over 73 in the opening round and go even-par with three birdies and three bogies in the later round to tie for third with a 2-over total of 144.
Baker stands four strokes back of tournament leading Hagen Barmasse of Rogers State (68-72 140/-2) and St. Mary's Benjamin Arnett (71-69 140/-2).
Junior Trip Hobson notched two team countable scores with rounds of 75 and 73 to tie for 17th with a 6-over total of 148, while sophomore Clayton Meyers fired rounds of 76 and 79 to tie for 41st with a 13-over total of 155.
Senior Colton Dorion recorded rounds of 77 and 79 to stand 50th with a 14-over total of 156.
Competing as individual medalist only for MSU were sophomore Chance Craig (83-75 158/57th), senior Luke Thomas (78-71 159/61st) and redshirt-freshman Simon Ospina (93-89 182/99th).
Alexis Read and May Chimsuti carded 2-over 74s to lead Midwestern State in the opening round of the Oklahoma Intercollegiate Monday at the par-72, 5,933-yard Fort Sill Golf Course.
The duo is tied for 10th on the individual as the Mustangs are sixth as a team heading into Tuesday's final round after carding a total of 305 (+17).
Read, a 5-4 freshman out of Bridgeport High, notched her top score of the season in her first team competition round, while Chimsuti competed as an individual medalist only while also carding her best round of the season.
The consistent Mustangs also received countable tallies from junior Sarah Moore (76/22nd), freshman Cheleen Cousins (77/28th) as well as seniors Sierra Campbell and Hayley Dambold who both fired 6-over 78s.
Oklahoma Christian tops the team leaderboard with a 1-over 289 led by Kate Goodwin, who fired a first-round 7-under 65 to take a five-stroke lead into Tuesday's final round.
The Eagles are trailed by Rogers State (293/2nd), Texas A&M-Commerce (297/3rd), Newman (301/4th), Redlands CC (301/4th) and MSU.
Midwestern State senior Kellie Martin (85/5th) and junior Madison Smith (86/58th) also competed as individuals.
The final round begins with a shotgun start Tuesday morning at 9.