Penn State Records Record-Setting Win
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- The Penn State mens golf team set a new tournament record and claimed its 12th consecutive team title Sunday in the final round of the 27th Annual Rutherford Intercollegiate at the par-72 Penn State Blue Course. The Nittany Lions finished at 12-under par with a total score of 852 for the three-round event, shattering the previous tournament record of 859, which they set last year.
Penn State began the final round at 568, with a four-stroke lead over Maryland and Liberty University. The Nittany Lions successfully held off the challengers, and even opened up an eight-point margin of victory, shooting a final-round 284. Liberty University took second place for the tournament with a score of 860 (-4), followed by Maryland in third place with 862 (-2).
Senior Jim Fuller (Muskogee, Okla.), the leader after two rounds, posted a skillful 3-under 69 in the final round to claim second-place honors with a 54-hole total of 207, or 9-under par. Fellow Oklahoma native Ted Neville (Oklahoma City, Okla.) finished in a four-way tie for fifth place after shooting a final-round 70 to come in at 3-under par for the tournament with a 213. Sophomore Greg Pieczynski (Kingston, Pa.) came back from a disappointing 78 in the first round to post consecutive rounds of 69 and earn a share of 13th place with an even 216. Sophomore Andrew Price (Mission Viejo, Calif.) and senior Jason Totin (Delaware, Ohio) also effectively contributed to the record-breaking effort with total scores of 220 and 228, respectively.
Competing as an individual, junior Jonas Hyden (Saltsjobaden, Sweden) put together three solid rounds to finish in a six-way tie for 15th place at 217.
Western Kentucky freshman Robby Shaw had an amazing record-breaking day himself. He tied the course record with a final round 10-under 62 and demolished the individual tournament record with a 15-under 201. He broke the previous record of 206, which was set last year by Penn States Jeff Turton.
Penn State head coach Greg Nye was thrilled with his teams performance at the tournament. This golf tournament was hotly contested throughout, said Nye. We played an outstanding back-nine today, and that simply won the tournament for us.
With todays title, Penn State has now won the Rutherford Intercollegiate 17 times. In addition, the Nittany Lions have now broken the tournament record five-consecutive years. This years score of 852 is the second-best 54-hole score in school history behind a score of 838 posted in 1998.
Penn State will return to action next weekend at the Big Ten Championships, which will be held at the Indiana University Golf Course from May 2 through May 4.
Final Team Standings:
1. Penn State 292, 276, 284 - 852
2. Liberty University 293, 279, 288 - 860
3. Maryland 295, 277, 290 - 862
4. Western Kentucky 287, 292, 285 - 864
5. George Mason 298, 289, 282 869
6. James Madison 302, 280, 288 - 870
7. Temple 294, 285, 295 - 874
8. Georgetown 298, 289, 292 - 879
9. Towson 304, 282, 302 - 888
10. Bowling Green 305, 293, 291 - 889
11. Akron 311, 288, 292 - 891
T12. St. Josephs 305, 300, 300 - 905
T12. Richmond 312, 297, 296 - 905
14. St. Bonaventure 318, 293, 295 - 906
15. Villanova 300, 306, 302 - 908
Top Ten Individuals:
1. Robby Shaw (WKU) 68, 71, 62 201
2. Jim Fuller (PSU) 71, 67, 69 - 207
3. Nick Cook (GU) 70, 69, 69 - 208
4. Jay Lindell (SBU) 72, 70, 70 - 212
T5. Tim Kane (UMD) 72, 72, 69 - 213
T5. Jay Woodson (JMU) 73, 68, 72 213
T5. Ted Neville (PSU) 73, 70, 70 213
T5. James Chan (Tem) 72, 70, 71 213
T9. Craig Mason (GMU) 72, 70, 72 214
T9. Chris Barr (GMU) 74, 73, 67 214
T9. Paul Carey (LU) 71, 71, 72 214
Stock Watch: Spieth searching for putting form
Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.
Patton Kizzire (+8%): By today’s accelerated standards, he’s a late bloomer, having reached the Tour at age 29. Well, he seems right at home now, with two wins in his last four starts.
Rory (+7%): Coming off the longest break of his career, McIlroy should have no excuses this year. He’s healthy. Focused. Motivated. It’s go time.
Chris Paisley (+5%): The best part about his breakthrough European Tour title that netted him $192,000? With his wife, Keri, on the bag, he doesn’t have to cut 10 percent to his caddie – she gets the whole thing.
Brooke Henderson (+3%): A seventh-place finish at the Diamond Resorts Invitational doesn’t sound like much for a five-time winner, but this came against the men – on a cold, wet, windy, 6,700-yard track. She might be the most fun player to watch on the LPGA.
New European Ryder Cuppers (+2%): In something of a Ryder Cup dress rehearsal, newcomers Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton each went undefeated in leading Europe to a come-from-behind victory at the EurAsia Cup. The competition come September will be, um, a bit stiffer.
Jordan’s putting (-1%): You can sense his frustration in interviews, and why not? In two starts he leads the Tour in greens in regulation … and ranks 201st (!) in putting. Here’s guessing he doesn’t finish the year there.
Brian Harman’s 2018 Sundays (-2%): The diminutive left-hander now has five consecutive top-10s, and he’s rocketing up the Ryder Cup standings, but you can’t help but wonder how much better the start to his year might have been. In the final pairing each of the past two weeks, he’s a combined 1 under in those rounds and wasn’t much of a factor.
Tom Hoge (-3%): Leading by one and on the brink of a life-changing victory – he hadn’t been able to keep his card each of the past three years – Hoge made an absolute mess of the 16th, taking double bogey despite having just 156 yards for his approach. At least now he’s on track to make the playoffs for the first time.
Predicting James Hahn’s form (-4%): OK, we give up: He’d gone 17 events without a top-15 before his win at Riviera; 12 before his win at Quail Hollow; and seven before he lost on the sixth playoff hole at Waialae. The margins between mediocre play and winning apparently are THAT small.
Barnrat (-5%): Coming in hot with four consecutive top-10s, and one of only two team members ranked inside the top 50 in the world, Kiradech Aphibarnrat didn’t show up at the EurAsia Cup, going 0-3 for the week. In hindsight, the Asian team had no chance without his contributions.
Langer not playing to pass Irwin, but he just might
Bernhard Langer goes back out on tour this week to chase down more than Hale Irwin’s PGA Tour Champions record of 45 career victories. His chase is against himself.
“I’m not playing to beat Hale Irwin’s record,” Langer told me before heading to Hawaii to defend his title at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. “I play golf to play the best I can, to be a good role model, and to enjoy a few more years that are left.”
Langer turned 60 on Aug. 27 and was presented a massage chair by his family as a birthday gift. Instead of reclining (which he does to watch golf and football), he won three more times to close out a seven-win campaign that included three major championships. A year prior, coming off a four-victory season, Langer told me after winning his fourth Charles Schwab Cup that surpassing Irwin’s record was possible but not probable. With 36 career victories and 11 in his last two years, he has changed his tone to making up the nine-tournament difference as “probable.”
“If I could continue a few more years on that ratio, I could get close or pass him,” Langer told me from his home in Boca Raton, Fla. “It will get harder. I’m 60 now. It’s a big challenge but I don’t shy away from challenges.”
Bernhard Langer, Hale Irwin at the 1991 Ryder Cup (Getty Images)
Langer spent his off-season playing the PNC Father/Son, taking his family on a ski vacation at Big Sky in Yellowstone, Montana, and to New York for New Year’s. He ranks himself as a scratch skier, having skied since he was four years old in Germany. The risk of injury is worth it, considering how much he loves “the scenery, the gravity and the speed.”
Since returning from New York, Langer has immersed himself into preparing for the 2018 season. Swing coach Willy Hoffman, who he has worked with since his boyhood days as an as assistant pro in Germany, flew to Florida for their 43rd year of training.
“He’s a straight shooter,” Hoffman told me. “He says, 'Willy, every hour is an hour off my life and we have 24 hours every day.'"
As for Irwin, they have maintained a respectful relationship that goes back to their deciding singles match in the 1991 Ryder Cup. Last year they were brought back to Kiawah Island for a corporate appearance where they reminisced and shared the thought that nobody should ever have to bear what Langer went through, missing a 6-footer on the 18th green. That was 27 years ago. Both are in the Hall of Fame.
"I enjoy hanging out with Hale," Langer says.
Langer’s chase of Irwin’s record is not going to change their legacies. As Hoffman pointed out, “Yes, (Bernhard) is a rich man compared to his younger days. He had no money, no nothing. But today you don’t feel a difference when you talk to him. He’s always on the ground.”
McIlroy: Ryder Cup won't be as easy as USA thinks
The Americans have won their past two international team competitions by a combined score of 38-22, but Rory McIlroy isn’t expecting another pushover at the Ryder Cup in September.
McIlroy admitted that the U.S. team will be strong, and that its core of young players (including Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler) will be a force for the next decade. But he told reporters Tuesday at the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship that course setup will play a significant role.
“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said, referring to the Americans’ 17-11 victory in 2016. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”
At every Ryder Cup, the home team has the final say on course setup. Justin Rose was the most outspoken about the setup at Hazeltine, saying afterward that it was “incredibly weak” and had a “pro-am feel.”
And so this year’s French Open figures to be a popular stop for European Tour players – it’s being held once again at Le Golf National, site of the matches in September. Tommy Fleetwood won last year’s event at 12 under.
“I’m confident,” McIlroy said. “Everything being all well and good, I’ll be on that team and I feel like we’ll have a really good chance.
“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that. The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”
Floodlights may be used at Dubai Desert Classic
No round at next week’s Dubai Desert Classic will be suspended because of darkness.
Tournament officials have installed state-of-the-art floodlighting around the ninth and 18th greens to ensure that all 132 players can finish their round.
With the event being moved up a week in the schedule, the European Tour was initially concerned about the amount of daylight and trimmed the field to 126 players. Playing under the lights fixed that dilemma.
“This is a wonderful idea and fits perfectly with our desire to bring innovation to our sport,” European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said. “No professional golfer ever wants to come back the following morning to complete a round due to lack of daylight, and this intervention, should it be required, will rule out that necessity.”
Next week’s headliners include Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson.