BRADENTON, Fla. (May 30, 2015) – Gudmundur Kristjansson (Reykjavik, Iceland) used a strong start and finish to move up the leaderboard following second round play of the NCAA Championship on Saturday afternoon at Concession Golf Club.
Kristjansson started the round with two straight birdies and collected three consecutive birdies to end the day en route to finishing with an even-par 72. The Buccaneer junior, who shot a 6-over 78 in Friday’s opening round, leaped 48 spots up the leaderboard and is tied for 60th at 6-over-par 150.
“I had some nice approach shots on the first two holes to set up the birdies for the good start,” said Kristjansson. “I wasn’t playing well in the middle of the round, but managed to hole some good putts on the last three holes to finish strong. I felt like I didn’t play well, but today was one of those rounds that I needed to manage. I was fortunate to make some good shots at the end of the round.”
“Gudmundur played well today and had solid round,” said ETSU head coach Fred Warren. “He made the two birdies to begin the round and had an impressive finish with three straight birdies to end the day. He was able to move up the leaderboard today, and needs a good round on Sunday to make the cut.”
Kristjansson, who started the round on the back nine, was 2-under after his first three holes, but registered three bogeys in his next six holes, moving him to 1-over when making the turn. From there, Kristjansson bogeyed a pair of par-4s at No. 2 and No. 5, but started his flurry of three consecutive birdies on the par-5, 606-yard No. 7 and ended the day with his fifth birdie of the round on the par-4, 435-yard No. 9.
On the par-5, 545-yard No. 13, Kristjansson walked away with a bogey, but needed some magic to write a six on his scorecard.
“I struggled on No. 13, but managed to run my fourth chip up 60 feet and it found the hole,” said Kristjansson. “I was 250 yards out after my drive (on the par-5), so I went for the green in two. The pin location was three-feet from a huge slope to the left of the green, so I missed it right to give myself room to work with. From there, I struggled with my chipping and couldn’t get spin on the ball to get it up the slope. After my third chip rolled back down hill and landed at my feet, I decided to go with a bump-and-run shot and rolled it in from around 60 feet. This course is so tough around the greens and it can really embarrass you out there at times.”
Fortunately, he stayed patient out there and was rewarded late with the birdies.
“It’s tough to make birdies out here,” added Kristjansson, who has seven birdies to go with his hole-in-one this weekend. “You have to put your shots in the right spot and I was able to do that down the stretch. No. 7 was a reachable par-5 today. I hit a good drive and my second shot was right of the green. Then I hit a perfect pitch shot that hit the pin and landed four feet for birdie. I made a 12-foot putt on No. 8 and a 22-foot putt on No. 9 for the other birdies.”
SMU’s Bryson Dechambeau shot a 5-under 67 to take over sole possession of the lead at 7-under-par 137. Dechambeau was one of eight golfers to begin the day two shots off the lead in fifth place, but the 28th-ranked golfer totaled one eagle, five birdies and two bogeys to gain a two-stroke advantage over Illinois’ Thomas Detry. Detry, who is ranked 26th nationally, started the morning tied for first at 4-under, but carded a 1-under 71 in round two and sits 5-under-par 139 for the championship.
Kristjansson looks to carry momentum into Sunday’s third round as he tees off at 2:20 p.m., from No. 10. The top 15 teams and nine individuals not on an advancing team move into Monday’s final round where the 72-hole individual champion will be crowned.
When asked what he needs to be done to make the cut, Kristjansson said he needs to stick to the game plan he used entering today’s second round.
“I need to keep the same approached that I used today,” added Kristjansson. “I need to stay focused on the next shot and be laid back. I thought I was more patient today than in the opening round. I put so much pressure on myself in the first round and was laid back today. I was rewarded for that at the end of the round.”
Live scoring from the NCAA Championship will be available on Golfstat.com, and ETSUBucs.com will provide complete coverage following each round.
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