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SIU Peyton Wilhoit

SIU golfer Peyton Wilhoit (right) takes a swing in this file photo from Saluki athletics.

With another strong second round on Tuesday, Southern Illinois University men's golfer Peyton Wilhoit moved up nine spots in the standings at the NCAA Regionals in Norman, Oklahoma. He is currently tied for 19th place out 75 golfers going into the final round today.

On a day that featured a lengthy lightening delay, the competition for a berth in the NCAA National Championship was fierce. Wilhoit (Even) is just three strokes behind Virginia's Ashton Poole (-3) for the coveted individual NCAA Championships slot. The reigning Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year had an impressive 2-under par round Tuesday, with four birdies on the first eight holes. He chipped in from off the green for a birdie on hole four and rolled in a 15-foot putt on hole six.

"He came out with a good look, was staying patient, hitting the greens and his putter was rolling," said SIU head coach Justin Fetcho. "He was hitting a lot of quality shots. Then we got to the back nine and a long weather delay, and it's not an excuse, but it got him a little out of his rhythm."

Wilhoit had eight pars and one bogey on the back nine.

The top five teams poised to advance to the NCAA Championships after day two are Oklahoma, Pepperdine, North Florida, Auburn and BYU. Playing on their home course, the Sooners (-8) hold a one-stroke lead over fast-charging Pepperdine (-7). The Waves were in ninth place after the first round.

Wilhoit has a 9:53 a.m. tee time today for the final round at the 7,452-yard Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club.

"He just has to come out, stay patient let, it come to him, can't go out and force things," Fetcho concluded. "If he stays within himself, the way he's putting the ball, if he just gives himself opportunities, he'll have plenty of chance to make birdies."

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