Marchesani, Verplank lead Stars to victory in OBU Invitational

MIDWEST CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma City University concluded the regular season by capturing the Oklahoma Baptist Invitational on Tuesday at John Conrad Golf Course.

The Stars’ James Marchesani posted his third victory of the season. OCU, ranked second in NAIA men’s golf, picked up its fifth win of 2013-14 and completed the spring season with three wins and two runner-up finishes.

The two-time defending national champion Stars followed up their program-low 265 with a 282 to finish with a 265-282–547. OCU finished 28 strokes ahead of sixth-ranked Oklahoma Baptist and 36 shots in front of 14th-ranked Bellevue (Neb.).

“I’m proud and excited with the way we played this week and also the way we have been progressing as a whole,” OCU coach Kyle Blaser said. “We wanted to get it to 30 under par, but today’s conditions were a complete 180 from yesterday’s, and they fought hard. We have a ton of confidence and momentum heading into the most important stretch of the year, and we are ready to get it on.”

OCU’s first-round score bested the 267 carded in the first round of the 37th U.C. Ferguson Classic on Sept. 10, 2007 at its home course of Lincoln Park Golf Course. OCU had 44 birdies and three eagles in the OBU Invitational on the par-72, 6,854-yard course.

“It was awesome,” Blaser said. “It was good to see them hold it together. We have had chances to go low earlier in the year and have given unnecessary shots back, but this week we really stayed in the present and kept the hammer down.”

Marchesani, a senior from Victoria, Rosebud, Australia, shot a 64-69–133 to end three strokes in front of Chad Smith of Oklahoma Baptist. Marchesani added an eagle on the par-5, 518-yard ninth hole and four birdies in Tuesday’s round. Marchesani won playoffs in his previous two victories and went to a playoff in the Battle at the Primm in his last start March 24-25 in Primm, Nev.

Scott Verplank turned in his career-best finish for OCU with a fourth-place 67-71–138. Verplank, a sophomore from Edmond, Okla., nailed 10 birdies in the 36-hole tournament.

The Stars’ Matthew Cheung and Anthony Marchesani tied for fifth place. Cheung, a freshman from Brisbane, Australia, recorded a 65-74–139, while Marchesani compiled a 69-70–139. Cheung buried nine birdies, while Marchesani had eight in the tournament.
Garrison Mendoza provided OCU with a 72-72–144. Stars playing as individuals were Issa Abou el Ella (71-76–147) and Jett Johnson (74-73–147).

Conditions featured a starting temperature of 46 degrees with 18 mph winds. The temperature rose to 68 degrees with gusts up to 36 mph.

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