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Korte, Lancaster lead final-day charge for the Govs

 

APSU Sports Information

APSU Men's GolfMuscle Shoals, AL – Another round saw the Govs move another spot up the leaderboard at the 2018 Ohio Valley Conference Men’s Golf Championships at the Fighting Joe course at the Robert Trent Jones at the Shoals stop, Wednesday, to conclude the event.

Austin Peay Men's Golf moves up to sixth on final day of OVC Tournament. (APSU Sports Information)

Austin Peay Men’s Golf moves up to sixth on final day of OVC Tournament. (APSU Sports Information)

The Govs finished sixth with an 888 (299-297-292), moving past SIU Edwardsville with the fourth-best final round score of the field. Jacksonville State repeated as champion with an 875 (286-289-300), followed by Eastern Kentucky (880), Belmont, Morehead State (both 882) and Tennessee Tech (883) in the top five.

“I think we played pretty consistently this week,” said head coach Robbie Wilson. “We didn’t have our best but it wasn’t a roller coaster ride. We didn’t make any putts all week; we thought going in we really had a chance to win and I think if we had our A-game we’d be right up there.”

A pair of Govs shot even-par 72 in the final round. Sophomore Austin Lancaster parred the first nine holes than negated three bogeys on the back with birdies on holes 12, 16 and 17, while freshman Chase Korte closed the day with a one-under 35 on the back-nine to shoot 72 for the day. Korte (73-76-72—221) finished tied for 13th in his first OVC Championship appearance, while Lancaster’s 225 (78-75-72) gave him a share of 24th.

Korte finished as one of the tournament leaders in par-5 scoring (4.83/hole, tied for fourth), a skill at which the Govs were quite adroit as a whole; Austin Peay’s 4.95 average on par-5s led the tournament, four shots better than Belmont.

Korte’s top-20 finish marks the second straight season that an Austin Peay freshman earned a top-20 finish at the OVC Championships; last year it was sophomore Alex Vegh, who secured his first career top-10 finish in OVC Championship this season competition with a 220 (74-72-74) and a tie for ninth. He went out with a one-under 35 in the final round before running into trouble early on the back nine, playing holes 10-14 at three-over with two bogeys, a birdie and a double-bogey derailing an otherwise exceptional stint in Muscle Shoals.

“It just doesn’t happen where five guys are playing their best game,” Wilson said. “If you get two or three guys hot you’re going to win, and generally if you get one or two hot you’re having a good week. But we really didn’t have anybody get hot this week. Alex probably played the best with what he had but he’ll be the first to admit it wasn’t his A-game.”

In his first appearance in OVC competition, sophomore Michael Busse acquitted himself nicely with a 17th-place finish, firing a 74 in all three rounds for a 222. Only a bogey on No. 4 kept Busse from an even-par on the front nine, and he was one of three Govs to birdie No. 12 as Austin Peay mounted a late-round rally.  

Busse (3.00/hole) was the only Gov to average par or better on par-3 attempts, while Vegh (4.00/hole) was his equal on par-4 offerings.

Hole No. 15 also was kind to the Govs, with Vegh, Busse and freshman Garrett Whitfield birdieing the 397-yard par-4. Whitfield shot a 231 (78-77-76), and was the only Governor to improve his score each day.

The birdies were not a problem for the Govs this week, as Austin Peay led the tournament with 39; Vegh (10), Korte and Busse (nine apiece) were among the tournament leaders, but Austin Peay canned a mere 167 pars, leaving 64 holes with bogey or worse to overcome.

The good news for the Govs is that they improved their team score each day, one of just two teams to do, along with runner-up Eastern Kentucky. The better news is that with three sophomores and two freshmen in the lineup this week, the future for the program remains incredibly bright.

“We’ll learn from it,” Wilson said. “Having only freshmen and sophomores in the lineup, most all these guys should be back next year and there’s a lot of experiences, good and bad, that we’ll take from it.”


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