LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Keelan Kilpatrick (74-74 – 148, +4) moved up six spots Saturday during second round action of the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters into a tie for eighth place. Kilpatrick will begin Sunday’s third and final round five shots behind second-round leader Patrick Rodgers of Stanford (74-69 – 143, -1), who is the only player under par after 36 holes of the tournament being played at the par-72, 7,374-yard Southern Highlands Golf Club.
Cal (314-302 – 616, +40) inched up one spot into a tie for 11th after tying for the sixth-best round of the day Saturday that was also one stroke better than second-round leader and host UNLV (289-303 – 592).
The Bears were trying to recover from a first-round 314 on Friday that was their highest score in the count-four format since shooting the same number in the opening round of the Windon Memorial in the fall of 2004.
Stanford (297-297 – 594, +18), UCLA (299-299 – 598, +22), Alabama (299-299 – 598, +22) and Oklahoma State (293-308 – 601, +25) are the only four teams within single digits of the leaders going into the final 18 holes in a field that includes each of the nation’s top six teams according to Golfweek with all 15 in the top 50.
Kilpatrick is in the lineup for only the third time since the 2011-12 campaign but for the second consecutive event and is coming off the top finish of his career when he tied for eighth at the John A. Burns Intercollegiate in his most recent event. He also played well at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters in 2012 when he was tied for fourth heading into the final round and ended up tied for 15th.
“I’m playing solid and I’ve had a good history here,” Kilpatrick said. “I think the course suits my game nicely. It places a premium on keeping the ball in play, limiting the damage and par is good on every hole. It could be a fun day tomorrow.”
Joël Stalter (79-76 – 155, +11) moved up six spots Saturday into a tie for 40th, while Brandon Hagy (82-75 – 157, +13) took seven strokes off his opening-round score and bounded up 18 positions into a tie for 48th. Pace Johnson (83-77 – 160, +16) knocked six shots off his Friday tally and moved up six spots into a tie for 63rd, while Michael Weaver (79-83 – 162, +18) fell 24 spots into a tie for 70th.
The 54-hole event concludes with the final 18 holes Sunday beginning at 8 a.m. PT. Cal players will tee off from the 10th hole beginning at 8:27 a.m. PT.
SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS COLLEGIATE MASTERS (HOSTED BY UNLV) LAS VEGAS, NEVADA SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS GOLF CLUB (PAR-72, 7,374 YARDS)
PLAYER LEADER BOARD – INDIVIDUAL LEADER (after 2 of 3 days/2 of 3 rounds/36 of 54 holes) 1. Patrick Rodgers (Stanford) 74-69 – 143 (-1)
PLAYER LEADER BOARD – CAL INDIVIDUALS (after 2 of 3 days/2 of 3 rounds/36 of 54 holes) T8. Keelan Kilpatrick 74-74 – 148 (+4) T40. Joël Stalter 79-76 – 155 (+11) T48. Brandon Hagy 82-75 – 157 (+13) T63. Pace Johnson 83-77 – 160 (+16) T70. Michael Weaver 79-83 – 162 (+18)
NOTES ► Cal will need to make up 15 strokes during Sunday’s third and final round to continue its string of 39 consecutive top-five finishes dating back to the beginning of the 2011-12 season that includes 35 stroke-play and four match-play events ► Cal has won five of its first seven events in 2013-14 ► Cal is the defending champion of the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters ► Four of the five players in Cal’s lineup have played previously at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters with Hagy, Stalter and Weaver playing twice each and Kilpatrick once, with only Johnson playing in the event for the first time ► Weaver’s 83 on Saturday was the highest score of his career after Hagy (82) and Johnson (83) had the highest scores of their careers Friday ► Kilpatrick had three birdies for the second consecutive round Saturday, picking up birdies on the par-four first, sixth and 16th holes, while he had bogeys on the par-three second, par-five third, par-three eighth, par-four 11th and par-five 18th
ADDITIONAL QUOTES ► Keelan Kilpatrick “It doesn’t really feel like I’m in contention until I look at the leaderboard. It’s been a rough couple of days for the team and we’re in a position we’re not very familiar with. I’ve left a lot of shots out there myself and I feel like I’m also partially to blame.”
“If we can limit our mistakes tomorrow I wouldn’t be surprised to see us make a jump up the leaderboard.”