Lewis-Clark State College junior Connor McCracken enjoyed an outstanding round with a 1-under-par 70 to tie for the second-lowest score on Wednesday during the second round of play at the 59th annual NAIA Men’s Golf National Championships at the TPC Deere Run Golf Course.
McCracken was one of four golfers to post a 70 on Wednesday in near ideal playing conditions and tied for the best turnaround from the opening round when he bettered his score by 12 shots. One of the other three golfers to shoot 70 was Justin Lower of Malone College, who holds the overall lead with a 138.
Tyler Light of Malone shot the best round of the day with a 69 and also improved his score by 12 shots from the opening round.
McCracken’s round gave him a 152 total after the Eagle, Idaho native struggled to an 82 during the opening round. McCracken now stands in a six-way tie for 62nd place heading into Thursday’s third round. After Thursday, the field will be narrowed to the top 17 teams and 40 individuals – both from individual play and from teams that did not advance – from the original field of 29 teams and 11 individuals. A total of 156 golfers are taking part in the tournament.
McCracken started the day on fire with a birdie on the first hole, a par-4 that measure 385 yards. After back-to-back bogeys on the third and fourth holes, McCracken finished with five pars for a 1-over-par 36 on the front side.
The two-time Frontier Conference Player of the Year kept it rolling on the back nine with pars on the first three holes before he birdied No. 13, a 411-yard par-4. After three more pars, he birdied the par-5 545-yard No. 17 hole and then tapped in for par on the 18th for a 2-under-par 34 on the back side.
His three-birdie two-bogey round was a far contrast from Tuesday when his problems putting led to six bogeys, a double bogey, and a triple bogey.
McCracken is the only member of the LCSC golf team to qualify for the event.