CHOUDRANT, La. - The 18th-ranked Tigers were the only team to break par in Monday's second round of the third-annual Argent Financial Classic, as they turned a four-shot deficit at the start of the round into a six-shot lead following the second day of action at Squire Creek Country Club.
After opening the championship with a team score of 4-over par 292 in the first round, the Tigers fired the tournament-low 4-under par 284 in the second round to finish Monday's action six shot clear of Louisiana Tech in the team standings with a 36-hole score of even-par 576.
Middle Tennessee State finished the day 11 shots back in third place at 11-over 587, while Jacksonville State trailed in fourth place at 16-over par 592 and Arkansas-Little Rock followed in fifth place at 17-over par 593 at the end of the second day of competition at Squire Creek Country Club.
Despite posting a 4-over 76 in Monday's second round, LSU sophomore Smylie Kaufman held his lead in the second round by one shot with a two-day total of 3-under par 141 while playing as an individual.
Senior teammate Sang Yi followed his 2-under par 70 in the first round with an even-par 72 in the second round as he is among three contenders trailing Kaufman in a tie for second place on the leaderboard with a 36-hole score of 2-under 142. Yi is currently one shot off the pace with Cody Blankenship of Louisiana Tech and Brad Simons of Middle Tennessee State after two rounds.
While Yi saw his streak of four-straight under-par rounds come to an end with his 72, he's in a position to earn his third-straight top-five finish to begin the spring season. After tying for fourth place at the John Hayt Invitational on Feb. 28, Yi followed with his best career tournament finish with a second place at the Louisiana Classics a week ago in the event held at Oakbourne Country Club.
Yi might have ended Monday's round as the top Tiger in the starting lineup on the individual leaderboard, but fellow senior Austin Gutgsell added the lowest round of the day to LSU's team score after carding his season-low 3-under par 69 to move into the Top 5 of the standings.
Gutgsell was impressive while sinking four birdies at the par-five second, par-three fifth, par-four 14th and par-five 17th holes, while adding a bogey at the par-four seventh hole en route to his 3-under 69.
With his team-leading performance on Monday afternoon, Gutgsell has given himself an opportunity for a top-10 finish for the first time this season with a 36-hole score of 1-under 143 to tie for fifth place.
Sophomore Andrew Presley is poised for his second-straight top-10 finish of the spring after recording his 2-under 70 in the second round to move into a tie for eighth place overall with a two-day total of even-par 144. Fellow sophomore Landon Lyons added a 1-over 73 to LSU's team score to finish the day in a tie for 23rd place at 3-over 147, while freshman Stewart Jolly is tied for 28th place at 6-over 150.
Freshman Myles Lewis was the fifth Tiger to finish the day among the Top 10 of the leaderboard with his 2-under 70 to tie Presley for eighth place with a tournament score of even-par 144.
In addition, freshman Curtis Thompson posted a 1-under par 71 and sophomore Franco Castro recorded a strong even-par 72 in the second round to tie one another for 18th place at 2-over 146 for the event.
After playing alongside Louisiana Tech and Middle Tennessee State in the second round, the trio is slated to tee off again Tuesday as part of the final wave on the front nine beginning at 8:50 a.m. CDT. There will be live scoring of the final round provided by Golfstat and can be found online at www.golfstat.com.
ARGENT FINANCIAL CLASSIC - SECOND ROUND RESULTS
TEAM SCORES (Par 576)
1. LSU 292-284 - 576 E; 2. Louisiana Tech 288-294 - 582 +6; 3. Middle Tennessee State 292-295 - 587 +11; 4. Jacksonville State 303-289 - 592 +16; 5. Arkansas-Little Rock 297-296 - 593 +17; 6. Southern Mississippi 299-295 - 594 +18; 7. Texas-San Antonio 301-296 - 597 +21; 8. Missouri State 299-299 - 598 +22; 9. Rice 310-300 - 610 +34.
TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS (Par 144)
1. Smylie Kaufman, LSU, 65-76 - 141 -3*; T2. Sang Yi, LSU, 70-72 - 142 -2; T2. Cody Blankenship, Louisiana Tech, 71-71 - 142 -2; T2. Brad Simons, Middle Tennessee State, 68-74 - 142 -2; T5. Austin Gutgsell, LSU, 74-69 - 143 -1; T5. Tomasz Anderson, Jacksonville State, 72-71 - 143 -1; T5. Alfonso Otoya, Jacksonville State, 71-72 - 143 -1; T8. Myles Lewis, LSU, 74-70 - 144 E*; T8. Andrew Presley, LSU, 74-70 - 144 E; T8. Jordan McLaurin, Missouri State, 72-72 - 144 E.
1. Smylie Kaufman, 65-76 - 141 -3*
T2. Sang Yi, 70-72 - 142 -2
T5. Austin Gutgsell, 74-69 - 143 -1
T8. Myles Lewis, 74-70 - 144 E*
T8. Andrew Presley, 74-70 - 144 E
T18. Franco Castro, 74-72 - 146 +2*
T18. Curtis Thompson, 75-71 - 146 +2*
T23. Stewart Jolly, 74-73 - 147 +3
T28. Landon Lyons, 74-76 - 150 +6
* - Indicates player competing as an individual.