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Austin Peay State University golfer Marco Iten in third place at NCAA Auburn Regional

 

APSU Sports Information

Austin Peay State University Governors - APSUAuburn, AL – Not only has Marco Iten put himself in position to secure a possible NCAA Championship berth, the Austin Peay State senior is challenging a star-studded field for a NCAA Auburn Regional medalist honor as well.

Iten fired a 2-under 70, Friday and sits at 3-under 141 heading in Saturday’s final round, being played on the par-72 7,254-yard Auburn University Club.

Austin Peay’s Marco Iten in third place at NCAA Auburn Regional Golf Tournament. (APSU Sports Information)

Austin Peay’s Marco Iten in third place at NCAA Auburn Regional Golf Tournament. (APSU Sports Information)

Alabama, the nation’s No. 1 team (and has the country’s No. 1 ranked player, Robby Shelton) and favorite to win the regional, all but secured a NCAA Championship berth with a 4-under 284 to go with Thursday’s 287.

The Crimson Tide is 15 shots clear of second-place Auburn (586), with Kennesaw State (588) third, Virginia Tech (592) fourth while Texas and Brigham Young are tied for fifth (593).

The top five teams, along with the top individuals not a member of the NCAA-advancing team, will head to the NCAA Championship, May 23rd-28th, at the Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kansas.

If results ended Friday Iten would be that player. Starting on No. 10, the senior from Niederglatt, Switzerland overcame some tricky wind conditions to record a trio of birdies (Nos. 14, 2 and 6) against just one bogey (No. 14).

Marco ItenIn two days he has recorded seven birdies while limiting the negative numbers to just two bogeys and one double bogey. He has had 26 pars in two days—he opened Thursday with five straight and Friday with four.

“I really didn’t play that great coming out,” Iten said. “I played good enough to make a lot of pars. Once a couple of (birdie) looks began presenting themselves, I took care of the opportunities on the greens.

“What was good is I was 1-over through five (holes), a place where you might start pressing the issue. But I didn’t—I just waited around and made a lot of pars. Eventually, a few birdies started going in.”

Kennesaw State’s Kelby Burton and Alabama’s Cory Whitsett are tied for first at 4-under par—Burton shot a 5-under 67, Friday. Iten is one shot ahead of Auburn’s Nicolas Carlsson and Texas’ Beau Hossler—the same Beau Hossler who led the U.S. Open after the opening round in 2012.

If Texas fails to advance, Hossler would be an Iten challenger for the individual bid. However, of the remaining potential non-advancing NCAA teams—based upon two-round totals—Iten currently leads that field by four shots.

“Marco just played smart golf,” APSU coach Kirk Kayden said. “He didn’t make a lot of mistakes—he is hitting shots where he wants to hit them. That’s a key in golf—if you are hitting your hitting your target that’s a good thing.

“He obviously is in good position.”

Although temperatures rose into the high 60s during the day, the swirling winds remained the same. Temps are expected to move into the high 70s Saturday with winds calming some.

“The winds and overall the conditions were pretty similar so the game plan I had yesterday was working good,” Iten said.

“Marco was aware of where the winds were on each hole and that makes a huge difference out here,” Kayden said. “Winds were blowing 15-18 miles per hour and he made the club adjustments he needed to.”

The calm, studious unaffected approach has helped Iten through not only this spring’s earlier tournaments but the first two NCAA Regional rounds as well. He will tee off at 9:50am, from No. 10, Saturday.

“Marco’s philosophy is just to go out and play…and see what happens in the end,” Kayden said. “He goes out and plays the golf course and just concentrates on the next shot—and basically says he will worry about everything else after he is done.”

“Hopefully I will have the same mindset Saturday as I have—I will try to hit every shot as it comes and, hopefully, the nerves will be in the similar place as they were today. I was pretty calm for the most part. If I will just stick with the shots and make smart decisions and, hopefully, we will be where we need to be.”


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