AKRON, Ohio -- Saint Mary's junior Mac McClung fired a two-round total of 7-under par 137 today to take the lead at the Firestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club.
Following a tough opening round, the Gaels rebounded with the tournament's best round to jump into third-place overall among the 17-team field with a 3-under par 294-279 573. The University of Indiana and SMU are tied for the tournament lead, just one stroke ahead of the Gaels. Host Akron is tied with three other teams for fourth-place, three strokes back.
The field will return to the 7,125-yard, par 72 North Course tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. (PT) for the event's final round.
"Boy, what a crazy day," said SMC Head Coach Scott Hardy. "We, obviously, struggled in the first round. But, we kept battling and fought our way back in the afternoon. Tomorrow will certainly provide another test for us, particularly as we look for some consistency. We will need to string two solid rounds together in order to have a chance for success.
"Mac was huge for us this afternoon. He played some really solid golf and kept us within striking distance of the leaders."
McClung, a native of Fremont, Calif, opened the tournament with a 1-under 71 before posting a tournament-low 66 in the afternoon. He registered seven birdies and one bogey in the second round and, at one point on the back nine, put together a string of three-straight birdies.
The round of 6-under 66 is McClung's lowest of his collegiate career.
Junior Ben Geyer is tied for 15th overall with a 1-under par 143 following rounds of 74-69. The Arbuckle, Calif. native was one of 21 players to break par in the afternoon round and one of just 13 players to break 70 during the day.
Sophomore Alex Bungert, playing in his first scoring event of the season, is tied for 31st with a 2-over par 146. The Orange, Calif. native opend the day with a 4-over 75 before shooting a 1-under 71 in the second round.
Anders Engell is tied for 36th with rounds of 74-73 for a 3-over par 147, while teammate Eric Grimberg rebounded from an uncharacteristic 81 in the morning to shoot 73 in the afternoon and is tied for 76th.