SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP)Bo Jin plays golf as if he’s a weekend player with no worries. He’ll pump his first when a big putt falls, but otherwise it’s tough to tell if the Oklahoma State freshman is playing well or poorly.
The even-keel mindset has worked out well so far at the NCAA men’s championship.
Unflappable for the third straight day, Jin shot a steady 1-under 69 on Sunday to take a two-shot lead into the final round of individual stroke play in the NCAA men’s championship.
”That’s just him,” Oklahoma State coach Alan Bratton said. ”He’s so good at putting things behind him and keeps going. He’s been unfazed all semester and it’s good to see him show up.”
The freshman led by three after a 65 on Saturday and followed with another day of crisp iron play to reach 9 under at Grayhawk Golf Club’s difficult Raptor Course.
Clemson senior Turk Pettit was 7 under after a 68 on another hot day in the desert. Wake Forest’s Parker Gilliam had the low round of the day with a bogey-free 64 on the par-70 course and tied Oklahoma’s Quade Cummins at 5 under.
Jin and teammate Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra’s 68 helped Oklahoma State reach 12 under, 13 shots ahead of rival Oklahoma in the team competition. Arizona State was third, 14 shots behind the Cowboys.
The final round of individual stroke play will be Monday. The team competition was cut to 15 after Sunday’s round and will be trimmed for a final eight for match play on Tuesday and Wednesday. TCU forced a Monday playoff with Georgia Tech for the 15th team spot on Aymeric Laussot’s birdie on his final hole.
The Cowboys are vying for their 12th national title – second since 2018 – and second straight individual national champion. Matthew Wolff won in 2019 before last year’s tournament was scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic.
”We wanted the win today, wanted to have the low round of the day,” Bratton said. ”We did our job today and the job will be the same tomorrow, just try to stay focused and win the day.”
Jin got off to a strong start in the third round, reeling off three birdies in four holes starting on the 475-yard par-4 third. The Beijing-born player – he moved to San Diego at 14 – spent most of the back nine hitting solid shots, but watched multiple putts burn the edges of the holes.
Jin hit his tee shot on the 521-yard par-4 18th into the right rough and opted to lay up instead of trying to hit a difficult shot over water from a thick lie. His third shot caught a ridge on the green and rolled to about 30 feet, where he two-putted for bogey.
”I didn’t have to convince him there to pitch the ball down the fairway on 18,” Bratton said. ”He thought he hit a good drive and didn’t see it.”
Pettit had been steady while opening the tournament 67-68 and had another solid round on Sunday. From Auburn, Alabama, had three birdies and two bogeys on the front, then followed with six straight pars before a birdie on the 173-yard par 3 16th.
”I didn’t hit it that great,” he said. ”I hit it better the previous two days and made four putts during a five-hole stretch that saved my round. Made some good putts that kept me playing well. Didn’t hit as well as the previous two days, but I scored well.”
Gilliam, a senior from Cary, North Carolina, has gotten better with each round after opening with a two-over 72. He shot a second-round 69 and put up six birdies on Sunday for the day’s lowest round by three shots.
Cummins had a third straight steady round. The senior from Weatherford, Oklahoma, followed opening rounds of 69-69 with a 68 on Sunday, spoiling a bogey-free round by missing a 4-foot par putt on the long par-4 15th.
”You need to be in the fairway to attack these pins and I was fortunate to be in the fairway more than the rough so it kind of got me off to a good start,” Cummins said. ”That back nine, I was playing good, made a couple of huge par putts and other that 4-footer, it was a good round of golf.”
Illinois’ Michael Feagles had five birdies in his first seven holes after opening on No. 10 to reach 5 under overall, but stalled out. He had two bogeys on his back nine is 4 under, tied with Oklahoma’s Jonathan Brightwell.
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