April 27, 2014

Men's golf takes home conference title

By KATIE MUCCI
UNCBears.com

ANGELS CAMP, Calif. – After taking a commanding lead on the first day of the America Sky Conference Championship, the Northern Colorado men's golf team couldn't be caught, as they finished the three-day tournament in first place, carding an overall 875 (+11). Four members of the team took top-10 spots in the individual competition.

The Bears recorded a three-over score of 291 through the last 18 holes to solidify the win. Sacramento State finished 26 shots behind the Bears with an overall score of 901 (+37). This is the second tournament win of the season for UNC after they took first place at the Sacramento State Invitational and it marks the eighth top-10 team finish of the year.

"The guys played great," Head Coach Roger Prenzlow said. "We finished 1-2-3 in the tournament. Ben Krueger, Steven Kupcho and Julian Woodfork, what a thrill for them."

The Bears swept the top three spots with senior Ben Krueger (Colorado Springs, Colo.) taking the individual title. This is Krueger's second individual win of the season and the sixth time he has had the top individual finish for the Bears. Krueger marked an even-par round of 72 to finish the competition with an overall score of 216.

Behind Krueger was teammate Steven Kupcho (Westminster, Colo.), who carded a 217 (+1) throughout the competition after firing a one-under par score of 71 over the last 18 holes. Kupcho's second place finish ties his best finishes of the season, coming at the UTEP Miner Invitational and the Whiting Turner Towson Invitational.

Freshman Julian Woodfork (Sacramento, Calif.) had a career weekend, recording his best finish of the season in third place and his best three-round score (221). The Sacramento State Invitational marked Woodfork's previous best in both categories, where he tied for 20th place with an overall score of 222.

Rounding out the scorers for the Bears was sophomore Conner Barr (Beaverton, Ore.) who carded a two-over par score of 74 through the last round to tie for seventh place. The competition marks Barr's fifth top-10 finish of the season, with his best finish coming in early April at the Whiting Turner Towson Invitational.

Junior Steve Connell (Thornton, Colo.) was the final Bear to compete, finishing the weekend with an overall mark of 234, carding a 78 through the final 18 holes. Connell also recorded the lowest single-round score of 69 Saturday, leading him to end the competition in 21st place.

"The whole team did a great job," Prenzlow said. "We got off to kind of a bad start today and they gutted it out and got their games back together and played another good round. It'll be fun to watch this team go on and play in the NCAA Regionals in a couple weeks. Being an automatic qualifier is thrilling for them and it's good for the school."

The Bears will compete at the NCAA Division I Regional tournament May 15-17. If they are one of the top five teams in the competition, they will continue onto the NCAA Championships May 27-June 1.