Deneen’s record day has Chants atop leaderboard

Coastal Carolina’s Morgan Deneen had a record-setting day with a conference championship record 63 and a record 11 birdies during the second round of the 2018 Sun Belt Men’s Golf Championships Tuesday. His effort helped the Chanticleers not only maintain first place, but widened its lead to 17 strokes. CCU was the only team under par in round two, shooting a 9-under par 275, and have a 36-hole score of 569 at the par 71, 6,879-yard Raven Golf Club at Sandestin.

Coastal also got standout performances from States Fort, who shot career-best, 4-under par 67, while Thadd Obecny II was even par (71). Fort, who carded an 80 in the opening round, rocketed up 33 spots in the leaderboard into a tie for 16th (80-67=147). Obecny sits in eighth place with his 1-over par, 36-hole score of 143 (72-71). Also tied for 16th with a two-round score of 147 is CCU junior Luis Ruiz (72-75) while Daniel Overas is tied for 28th with a 151 (77-74).

The Chanticleers’ 9-under par 275 ties for the fourth-best round in school history. Coastal, which led by one stroke after day one, leads by 17 strokes with rounds of 294-275 for a 36-hole score of 569. Georgia Southern is second (586), followed by Texas State (587) and UT Arlington (588). The top four teams after tomorrow’s final 18 holes will advance to the match-play portion of the championship. The individual champion will be crowned after tomorrow’s 18 holes.

Deneen, who moved from 12th after a 73 in the opening round to first in the individual race, set the Sun Belt Championship record with his 63 Tuesday and sits atop the leaderboard with a 36-hole score of 136, three strokes ahead of two players at second.

Not only did Deneen set the Sun Belt record for best 18-hole score:

* he tied the CCU record for best 18-hole score with a 63 (Zack Byrd also shot a 63 in 2009).
* his 11 birdies for the day is also believed to be a CCU record
* his 8-under par round is second-best in relation to par in school history as Byrd fired a 9-under par 63 (with 10 birdies and a bogey on a par-72 course) in 2009
* the 63 is the best score by a Chanticleer by three strokes at a conference championship as Dustin Johnson fired a 66 at the 2007 Big South Championship.
* his 36-hole score of 136 is two strokes better than his previous two-round total while his 63 is three strokes better than his previous best as he shot 66 twice earlier this season.

“Just a really, really good day,” said first year CCU head coach Jim Garren. “Not much more to say other than that. We had two goals for today – have the low round of the day and extend the lead. Morgan had one of those special days and he rode the momentum all day. I could not be happier for him today. Tomorrow is big. We need to come out and back up what we did today.”

Deneen opened his record-setting day with three consecutive birdies. After dropping a shot on the par-3, 4th hole, he birdied two of his next four holes. However, Deneen suffered a double bogey on the par-4 9th hole, which has played as the toughest hole on the course by far for two straight days (playing +1.1 over par on Tuesday). Undaunted, Deneen reeled off four straight birdies on holes 10 through 13 while adding birdies on holes 15 and 17.

Fort is tied for 16th with scores of 80-67 for a total of 147. He started Tuesday with a bogey, but birdied the second. He then got to 1-under with a birdie on the par 3, 8th hole, but fell back to even with a bogey on the tough 9th hole. Fort then caught fire with an eagle on the par-5, 11th hole before posting birdies on holes 12, 15 and 17. He suffered a bogey on the 18th for his career-best round of 67.

Obecny turned in 14 pars, two bogeys and two birdies to shoot his even par round of 71 and 36-hole score of 143. Ruiz had 12 pars, five bogeys and a birdie for his 4-over 75 in round two. Overas, despite being tied for 28th with a 9-over 151 (77-74), is tied for the championship lead with 26 pars over 36 holes.

Photo courtesy of Sun Belt Conference

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