Even-par 70 propels Auburn standout to one-shot lead over Pepperdine’s Vrzich
“I just think that the weather today put a challenge out there,” said Huff, playing in his second straight Patriot All-America. a senior at Auburn University from Eagle, Idaho. “I think my game held up enough today, and we’ll see what happens going into tomorrow.”
Pepperdine University senior Joey Vrzich finished with a birdie on 18, and sits alone in second place at -4 overall after a second-round +1 (71). San Diego State senior Puwit Anupansuebsai shot up the leaderboard with a stellar -3 (67), and will join Vrzich and Huff in Thursday’s final group at -3 overall.
“I got a lot of up and downs today, kept myself in play and made a couple putts when I had to,” said Anupansuebsai, a Nakhon Phanom, Thailand-native. “I’ve been playing well my past couple of tournaments and I just have to keep it going.”
For Huff, an up-and-down round started on a sour note, double-bogeying the par-4 2nd hole and going out in two-over-par. But birdies on 12 and 17 got the Eagle, Idaho-native back on track, and in pole position to take home the winner’s F-35 trophy and authentic Air Force flight jacket.
“You can’t win a tournament in the first two days – the last day is when you go out and win,” said Huff, who finished T-12 in the 2019 Patriot All-America Invitational. “Tomorrow is showtime. I’ve put myself in a good spot, I’ve got an opportunity in front of me and hopefully I can take advantage of it.”
It was a tale of two nines for Vrzich, struggling on the front nine with three bogeys and a double-bogey and going out in +5 (40). But he would regain his composure on the back to birdie 10, 14, 16 and 18 to stay within striking distance of Huff.
“I was challenged on the front nine, starting with a water ball on 2 and I bogeyed a par -5, which you can’t do out here,” said Vrzich, coming off a T-5 in last year’s event. “But to turn around on the back nine and shoot four under, I’m pretty happy with my score. I’ve got stuff to work on but it was good to be able to come back.”
Lincoln Memorial University senior Dan Bradbury, University of Tennessee junior Hunter Wolcott and Texas Christian University sophomore Jacob Skov Olesen will play together in tomorrow’s penultimate group, with each player tied for fourth at -2 overall. Another 11 players are at even par or better, setting up a thrilling final round in the 10th Anniversary of the Patriot All-America Invitational.
Illinois State University’s David Perkins and Pepperdine University’s Joshua McCarthy added to the Patriot’s hole-in-one tally in the second round. Perkins sunk a 9-iron from 168 yards on the par-3 6th for his ace, while McCarthy’s 8-iron from 184 yards found the bottom of the cup on the par-3 11th.
Final Round play from the Wigwam Golf Course is scheduled for 9:30 am on Thursday, December 31, pending a frost delay. For more information including live stream links, player pairings and schedule of events, visit patriotallamerica.com.
About The Patriot All-America Invitational
Featuring golf’s stars of tomorrow, The Patriot All-America is regarded as a top amateur event nationally, attracting PING All-America golfers from all three NCAA Divisions, NAIA and NJCAA rankings as well as from universities outside the United States. The Arizona Golf Association (AGA), JDM Partners and the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) partnering with the Folds of Honor Foundation to host the tournament. For more information visit patriotallamerica.com.
About Wigwam Golf Club
The Wigwam’s three 18-hole championship golf courses offer a diversity that cannot be matched by any other Arizona resort, with 54 holes of championship golf including two courses designed by the legendary Robert Trent Jones, Sr. The Gold Course has hosted many signature tournaments over the years, including numerous U.S. Open Qualifiers, U.S. Amateur Qualifiers, several NCAA Regional Championships and the annual Patriot All-America Invitational, one of the top amateur competitions in the world. The 7,430 yard, par 72 track has also received various industry awards and accolades since opening in 1965, including being named one of the “Top 100 Golf Courses in America.” In December 2009, The Wigwam (including the golf courses and resort property) was purchased by JDM Partners, led by sports icon Jerry Colangelo. For more information, please visit www.wigwamgolf.com.
About Arizona Golf Association
The Arizona Golf Association has been serving amateur golfers in Arizona since 1923 when it held the first State Amateur Championship. Today, it is licensed by the United States Golf Association to provide handicapping and course rating services to member clubs, to provide tournament and rules expertise and to oversee the application of amateur status.
About Golf Coaches Association of America
Established in 1958, the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) is the professional organization of golf coaches. The GCAA’s mission is to support its member coaches by creating educational opportunities, providing resources, and promoting its members with the purpose of enhancing their overall performance as coaches, mentors, and teachers. The GCAA also recognizes the excellence and achievements of its members and their student-athletes in academic, athletic and civic endeavors.