October 22, 2013

Krueger finishes second, Bears third at Herb Wimberly

By HEATHER KENNEDY
UNCBears.com

Photo: Senior Ben Krueger with Herb Wimberly, namesake of the tournament

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Northern Colorado senior Ben Krueger (Colorado Springs) was one of only three golfers to turn in three rounds under par at the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate, carding a four-under par 209 (70, 69, 70) to finish in second place on Tuesday.

Krueger entered the final round with a one shot lead over the rest of the field and continued to play great golf on the final day, but New Mexico State's Brett Walker turned in the low round of the tournament, a 65, to snatch the victory away from Krueger.

"Ben Krueger, he played some marvelous golf," Head Coach Roger Prenzlow said. "He was the only one in the field to have three rounds under par. It just took the guy from New Mexico State to shoot a 65 and play a great round to beat him, otherwise Ben would have won, but he played solid today when it mattered and to his testament, he made some putts down the line and hung in there."

Junior Steven Kupcho (Westminster, Colo.) also finished in the top 10, tying for ninth place after shooting a two-over par 215 (70, 75, 70) in helping Northern Colorado to a third-place finish at 871 (286, 295, 290).

Host New Mexico State won the team title, while Colorado State finished second, six shots off the lead and just seven ahead of the Bears.

"The guys did a great job," Prenzlow said. "That's a great tournament with that caliber of a field, for us to finish third. We hung in there today, we didn't make a ton of putts, but we made a lot of good golf shots when the pressure was on and it was fun to watch."

Sophomore Conner Barr (Beaverton, Ore.) tied for 36th place after tallying a 223 (67, 77, 77), while junior Steve Connell (Thornton, Colo.) was just two shots behind him at 225 (78, 74, 73) to tie for 49th place. Freshman Julian Woodfork (Sacramento, Calif.) rounded out the team scoring after carding a 77 in each of the three rounds for a 231 and a tie for 74th place.

Both Krueger and Barr registered an eagle during the tournament, just two of 10 golfers in the field to do so, while Kupcho came in at five under on par 5's, the second lowest score of the tournament.

The Bears remain on the road and head to El Paso, Texas for the UTEP Miner Invitational, which begins on Friday.

"The guys just keep getting better and hopefully later this week in El Paso we make a few more of those putts and surprise some more people," Prenzlow concluded. "It's been a lot of fun and the guys are really responding to what we're trying to do here and it'll be fun to watch them get better also."