Sept. 16, 2013
BURLINGTON, Iowa - Rebounding from a tough first round, University of Houston senior James Ross drained four birdies during a near-bogey free second round to finish with a 3-under-par 69 and move into a tie for 15th at the Golfweek Conference Challenge.
Opening his back nine with two straight pars, Ross birdied the par-3 12th hole and played a nearly perfect round until bogeying his final hole of the day. Recording the Cougars' third round in the 60s this season, Ross jumped 30 places into a tie for 16th with a two-day score of 145.
Ross, who is making his season debut this week, endured a roller-coaster first round Sunday that saw him finish with five birdies, five bogeys and two double bogeys. Competing in his first collegiate event since the final round of the 2012 NCAA Athens Regional, the Edinburgh, Scotland, native birdied his second hole of the day and then went back-to-back on Nos. 5 and 6. As a team, the Cougars slipped to second place with a score of 581 on the 7,301-yard, par-72 layout at Spring Hollow Golf Course. Oklahoma moved into the team lead with a score of 568, thanks to a round of 10-under-par 278 on Monday. New Mexico (582), Virginia Tech (583), Jacksonville State (588), Winthrop (588), LSU (588), Central Arkansas (588), Iowa (589) and Arizona (595) rounded out the top-10 team leaders.
Ross was one of three Cougars to finish Tuesday's play among the top-25 leaders.
Junior and defending Conference USA individual champion Roman Robledo finished in a tie for 16th with a score of 145 and broke out the Cougars out of a tie for second place in the team standings with a birdie on the par-5 18th hole.
Sophomore Blair Hamilton, who advanced to the Second Round of the U.S. Amateur Championship earlier this summer, finished the second round in a tie for 21st with a score of 146.
The tournament wraps up with an 8:30 a.m., shotgun start Tuesday. Ross and Robledo will tee off hole No. 1 and will be joined by Hamilton (No. 2), McClain (No. 3) and Reed (No. 4).
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Following the Golfweek Conference Challenge, the Cougars will compete at the Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic for the fifth straight season. A year ago, the Cougars tied for second at this event with four individuals among the top-21 leaders.
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