Oct. 3, 2011
CHOUDRANT -Sam Forgan and Cody Santone both fired red numbers during the opening day of the 2011 Squire Creek Invitational to lead Louisiana Tech as the Bulldogs are alone in third place heading into Tuesday morning's final round.
After opening the day with an even par 72 during the morning round, Forgan fired a five-under-par 67 during the afternoon and barely missed a five-foot birdie putt on 18 that would have shaved another stroke off that total.
The junior shot seven-under-par on the par 5's during the day and currently sits in a two-way tie for second place (out of 75 competitors) with a 36-hole total of 139. Sam Houston State's Scott Kelly (66-70=136) is the clubhouse leader by three strokes.
"I knew it was coming," said Tech head coach Jeff Parks. "It was just a matter of time. He's been playing too well not to have a good tournament. I hope he comes out tomorrow and plays well and can catch the leader and take home his first college victory. That would be nice. There are a lot of guys (towards the top) that could come out and post low numbers. I'm excited for Sam. He had a great round of golf this afternoon."
Santone was consistent throughout the day, firing a one-under-par 71 in the morning and a two-under-par 70 during the afternoon. He totaled 10 birdies during his two rounds, the fifth most during the 36 holes.
"Cody had two great rounds," Parks said. "He never gives up; he is constantly fighting, scratching and digging. He didn't putt well in the beginning but as the day went on obviously made some. Thirty-six holes is a lot of golf and for him to be that consistent is impressive."
As a team, Tech shot three-under-par 573 (291, 282) and is three shots behind Southern Miss (289-281=570) and one shot behind Southeastern Louisiana (290-282=572). Jacksonville State (578), Sam Houston State (580), Nicholls State (594), McNeese State (594), Stephen F. Austin (596), Central Arkansas (597), UMKC (602), Rice (604), Troy (607) and Jackson State (615) round out the field.
"To be honest, I would have liked to have had the lead by quite a few going into tomorrow," Parks said. "I'm going to take it though and hopefully we will put together a solid round in the morning. Typically, our afternoon rounds are better. I hope we get off to a better start. We were sluggish early today and didn't play the par 5s as well as we needed to as a team. I think we lost 10 strokes to Southern Miss on the par 5s."
Jonathan Bale (76-73=149, T31st), Jack Lempke (77-72=149, T31st) and Travis Wilmore (72-81=153, T53rd) round out the scoring for the five team competitors for Tech. Individually, Patrick Blunt (71-73=144, T14th) and Cody Blankenship (73-71=144, T14th) both had strong showings on their home course.
"Cody Blankenship is the picture of perseverance," Parks said. "To break his arm (snow skiing) last January and to come back both mentally and physically is a testament to him. He broke his arm and had 13 screws and a plate put in it. To be playing at the level he his playing this week is special.
"Patrick Blunt is a fifth-year senior who is playing well this week. He has been fighting to get into the top five in our lineup and is playing well again. We have a deep team with a lot of guys that can flat out play. We have a lot of depth. I'm proud of how he is competing and playing."
True freshman Chandler Vilcheck shot a two-round total of nine-over-par 153 and is currently tied for 53rd place. However, Vilcheck had the shot of the tournament as he hit his first collegiate hole in one using a seven-iron on the 175-yard, par 3 No. 5 during the afternoon round.
"What a memorable moment for Chandler as a freshman," Parks said. "It's something he will remember the rest of his life. To get a hole in one is special and to do it at his first home college event is even more special."
Tuesday's final round will begin with an 8 a.m. shotgun start.