Elgert just one stroke off the pace at NCAA Men's Golf Championships
With the Golf Channel on hand for seven holes and a large gallery following his group for the entire 18, Elgert proved Tuesday's opening round 2-under par 68 was no fluke as the senior carded a 1-under 69 during Wednesday's second round and sits tied for fourth at 3-under 137 through 36 holes, just one stroke off the pace.
"A 69 was about as low as I was going to go today with was dealt to me and I couldn't be any happier," Elgert said shortly after his round. "The winds picked up today and the pin placements were very difficult, which meant you really had to miss on the right side of the hole. I was hitting the ball fairly well, I just didn't make a whole lot of putts. It was one of those days that I could have gotten discouraged very easily, but I stuck with my game and in the end everything turned out for the best. I am very pleased with my position."
But Elgert didn't exactly open the way he would have liked. Teeing off on No. 10 to start the day, he had to settle for a bogie. He quickly regained his composure, however, picking up a birdie on the par-3 No. 11 hole before claiming nine straight pars.
"After the first two holes I was really able to settle in and relax," said Elgert. "I just put it in cruise control and hit a lot of good shots. The key for me was just staying patient. I was hitting good shots, but the putts were just not falling. I just hung in there and took advantage of the opportunities as they came and was fortunate to make some putts down the stretch."
A birdie on No. 3, his 12th hole of the day, was the only thing to interrupt the string of pars as Elgert picked up a stroke on the par-4 hole.
Three straight pars followed before Elgert suffered just his second bogey of the round and fifth of the tournament on the par-4 No. 7 hole.
But again the senior quickly responded, carding a birdie on No. 8 (par 3) and shooting par on No. 9 to close out the round.
"It's wonderful to be in the top five, but the reality is that I am only half-way done," Elgert said. "There's a lot of golf to be played yet. If I am fortunate to have a good day tomorrow, I think I can make a run at a national title. But there's so much more golf to play and it could go either way. I just need to say focused."
Unranked heading into the tournament and playing as one of six individuals who advanced out of regional play, Elgert appears to be a shoo-in to make Thursday's cut, which will drop the field to the top 15 teams and the six individuals not on one of the advancing squad. Regardless of Thursday's outcome, though, the K-State senior says he will leave with no regrets.
"I've never shied away from competition," said Elgert. "When I come to an event like this one and I'm adequately prepared and my confidence is there, I know I can play with these guys, even if people are a little surprised to see me in this position. I've proven I belong and I've shown I can play."
Thursday's third round will have Elgert teeing off from the No. 10 hole at (ET). Live scoring will again be available via the Internet at www.golfstat.com as the
"I don't have any plans to change anything," said Elgert. "Right now I am playing smart and not trying to get something out of a round that's not there. The key for me is not to press, keep myself in the present and keep hitting quality golf shots."
2004 NCAA Men's Golf Championships
Par 70; 6,679 Yards
T1. Jeff Hood, California, 65-71-136; T1. Chris Nallen, Arizona, 69-67-136; T1. Matt Wells, Kentucky, 68-68-136; T4. A.J. Elgert, Kansas State, 68-69-137; T4. Ryan Moore, UNLV, 67-70-137; T4. Travis Johnson, UCLA, 69-68-137.