FRENCH LICK, Ind. (Purdue Sports) – The Purdue men’s golf team overcame tough scoring conditions and a difficult Pete Dye Course at the French Lick Resort layout to grab the team lead at the halfway point of the Big Ten Men’s Golf Championship.
The Boilermakers lead the 72-hole event at 18-over par 594 following rounds of 298 and 296. The Boilers were two shots off the lead after the initial 18 holes, but their 296 was the third-best 18-hole score of the day to catapult Purdue into first place at the halfway point.
However, the Boilermakers still have work to do. No. 9-ranked and five-time defending champion Illinois (297-298=595) and Minnesota (295-300=595) are just one shot back while Ohio State (302-294=596) is just two shots off the pace. Northwestern and Iowa are fifth and sixth, respectively, at 602 (+26) and 603 (+27).
The individual story of the day was a pair of freshmen that see-sawed in the lead back and forth for most of the day. Minnesota’s Jose Mendez is the only golfer under par after 36 holes, leading the tournament at 1-under par 143 (69-74). Purdue freshman Philippe Schweizer is just one shot off the lead after firing a pair of even-par 72s for a 36-hole total of 144. Schweizer was the only golfer in the field with two rounds of even-par or better.
Schweizer’s best career finish is a ninth-place showing at the Bridgestone Collegiate in late October.
Enzo Perez is in a tie for eighth at 4-over par 148 (72-76). Perez was tied for sixth after 18 holes, and even with a 4-over par 76 in the second round, only dropped two spots in the medalist race after difficult scoring conditions moved in during the afternoon.
Another freshman, Austin Eoff, is tied for 19th at 7-over par 151 (78-73). Eoff rallied after a tough opening round to record the eighth-best second-round score of the afternoon with a 1-over par 73. Eoff got back into the top 20 thanks to a stretch of four birdies in a seven-hole span on the front nine, and then capping off his round with a birdie on 18.
Stuart Macdonald continued his solid play, currently in a tie for 31st at 9-over par 153 (76-77). Macdonald played hole Nos. 1 through 14 in 3-over par, but played the final four holes (15 through 18) in 6-over par.
Adam Schenk rebounded from a subpar first round (79) with a 3-over par 75 to sit tied for 34th after 36 holes at 10-over par 154. From the first round to the second round, Schenk improved his placing by 11 spots after being 45th after the initial 18 holes.
Purdue will be paired with Illinois and will tee off on Saturday on hole No. 1, with tee times beginning at 10:20 a.m. (ET). Final round action will be on Sunday at 8 a.m. (ET). The Boilers are looking for their first Big Ten title since 1981.