Coastal, Ballesteros in hunt for Air Force tourney titles

The Coastal Carolina men’s golf team played 36 holes Sunday in its inaugural action of the 2012-13 season and stand in fourth place in the 15-team field at Air Force’s Gene Miranda Invitational, played at the 7,370-yard, Par 72 Eisenhower Golf Course.

The Chanticleers shot 287-290=577 and are two shot behind host Air Force, five shots behind UNLV and 10 strokes back of leader Colorado.

Last season, Coastal also opened the season at the Gene Miranda, but only managed a 10th-place finish after the first 36 holes.

Coastal junior Roberto Ballesteros was in a tie for first after 18 holes, shooting 4-under 68. After an eagle and four birdies through a seven-hole span, Ballesteros was at 4-under. Despite suffering a double-bogey six on the 14th hole, he rallied to post birdies on his last two holes.

In the second round, Ballesteros kept the momentum with birdies on two of the first three holes, but would scatter three bogies over the back nine for a 1-over 73. He will enter the final round tied for fifth, but just two strokes off the lead, carding 68-73=141 (-3).

Sebastian Soderberg jumped from 25th to 14th from the morning session to the afternoon, shooting 73-70=143 (-1). The senior, who recorded an ace in the practice round Saturday, posted birdies on holes 14 and 16 in the first round before taking a four on the par-three 17th for his first round 73. He opened the second round with a birdie, followed immediately by two bogeys . He would rally with birdies on holes 5, 9 and 16 to finish 1-under par. for the round.

Sophomores Andrew Dorn, Ben Wheeler and Peter Valasek round out Coastal’s five. Dorn posted a steady 1-over 145 (72-73) and stands in a tie for 24th.  Wheeler improved by two strokes from round one to round two, shooting 76-74=150 (+6), to tie for 46th and Valasek opened with 74, but closed with a 77 as his seven-over 151 places him in a tie for 49th.

Freshman Steven Lu is making his collegiate debut at the Gene Miranda. The Shenzhen, China native is playing as an individual, shooting 78-75 for a nine-over 153.

The competition will conclude Monday with 18 holes.

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