Second Round 296 Bumps Matadors Up to Seventh at Big West Championship

LA QUINTA - Cal State Northridge posted a five-shot improvement from Sunday's first round to Monday's second round and was able to move past two teams into seventh-place at the Big West Championship at La Quinta G.C.

The Matadors, who were tied for eighth after an opening round 301 on Sunday, carded a team round of 296 on Monday to move past Cal Poly (599) by two shots and UC Riverside (603) by six. Northridge is still well back of the front runners as UC Davis (570) leads the team chase by one shot over Pacific (571).

Junior Chris Russo continued to be bright spot in the individual competition as he followed up Sunday's three-under 69 with a one-under 71 on Monday. Russo had six birdies on Monday after posting five on Sunday but was victimized by five bogeys, four coming on the back nine this afternoon. He was four-under after nine holes Monday but three-over on the back nine to finish at one-under for the day. Russo is tied for the tournament lead with 11 birdies over two rounds.

The junior from Thousand Oaks, who is at four-under 140 for the championship, heads into the final round four shots behind Pacific's Alex Edfort (136) with Cal State Fullerton's Mark Anguiano (137) second and UCSB's Paul Otte (138) third.

"Chris was five under after eight holes then kind of got out of rhythm on the back nine when it got windy," said head coach Jim Bracken. "We tee-of early tomorrow so hopefully we can beat the afternoon winds and Chris is hitting the ball well so he's got as good a chance as anyone."

Three of the four Matador golfers were able to lower their score from Sunday's opening round as sophomore Ryan Green posted a round of one-over 73 on Monday after a three-over 75 on Sunday. Green is currently tied for 27th at four-over 148.

Freshman Steven Molumby was the only other Northridge player to go the other direction as he posted a round five-over 77 after finishing at four-over 76 on Sunday. Molumby, however did moved up the leaderboard from 38th to 34th on Monday and is at nine-over 153 heading into the final round.

After a disappointing 81 on Sunday, senior Jason Rosenkranz posted a six-stroke swing with a three-over 75 on Monday. Rosenkranz is in 42nd-place at (+12) 156. Shane Blanchard rounded out the Matador scoring as he is in 45th-place at (+23) 167 after rounds of 87-80.

"We let a potentially good round get away from us today," said Bracken. "We did well on the front nine but lost a bit of confidence on the back and we simply hit some bad shots. The guys are giving it a good effort so I can't ask for much more. Hopefully we can finish up strong tomorrow and maybe move up a spot.

The Matadors will tee-off the final round Tuesday at 7:15 a.m.