Cuartero leads Missouri men's golf to early advantage in sixth year of home event

Monday, April 8, 2013 | 10:33 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Emilio Cuartero was dominant on Monday, leading the No. 31 Missouri men's golf team to a commanding 16-stroke edge after the completion of two rounds in the 54-hole C.O.G. Mizzou Intercollegiate at The Club at Old Hawthorne.

Cuartero, a junior from Lleida, Spain, fired an opening round 4-under-par 68, tying him with teammate Hunter Kraus for the top spot after 18 holes.

Cuartero took a short break before heading back out to play his second round of the day on the par-72 layout. After a slow start that included two bogies, Cuartero carded five birdies over his final 11 holes to record a 3-under 69.

Cuartero isn't the only Tiger at the top of the leaderboard. Defending event champion Ryan Zech is three shots back at 4-under par after consecutive rounds of 70, and teammates Kraus, Jacob Fair and 2011 event winner Jace Long are all tied for eighth after posting a 36-hole total of two-under-par 142.

With the Tigers looking for a third consecutive win in the sixth year of their home event, coach Mark Leroux said he was proud of his team's effort during a "mentally draining" 36-hole day. Missouri posted a 19-under two-round total of 557.

"There's certainly a home course advantage, but the guys needed to come ready to play," Leroux said. "I've never had a team win six tournaments in a year, and it looks like they're on their way to doing that."

As the coach of the host university, Leroux was able to extend an invite to Columbia College and its coach, former Missouri star John Utley, to play in the hometown event. The Cougars struggled on Monday and head into the final round of the 12-team invite in last place, 43 shots behind 11th-place Northern Iowa after tallying a 76-over two-round total of 652.

Hunter Parrish paced the Cougars with a 14-over total of 158 after two rounds.

"I wanted to give them an opportunity to play," Leroux said. "John coached for us and he's trying to get that program off the ground. They don't get the chance to play in events like this very often, and they're having some growing pains, but it's still great to see."

The tournament resumes at 8 a.m. Tuesday with a shotgun start.

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