OCU goes after third consecutive NAIA title

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Oklahoma City University is set to compete for a third consecutive NAIA men’s golf championship on May 13-16 at LPGA International.

The Stars, ranked No. 3 in the NAIA, has captured nine national championships in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012 and 2013.

“It’s a journey and we want to peak at the right time,” OCU coach Kyle Blaser said. “I tell the guys it easier for us because our expectations are to go out there and win, and the other teams think they’ve got to beat us. We’re just out there going through our motions and taking care of our business.”

The Stars enter the NAIA Championships with a stroke average of 288.38 and rank second in the NAIA in average score vs. par. OCU captured five tournament victories this season including the NAIA Fall Preview on Sept. 16-17 at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla.

OCU also won the Oklahoma Baptist Invitational on April 7-8 at John Conrad Golf Course in Midwest City, Okla., where they set a program record while recording the lowest round in the NAIA and second lowest round in the country this season with 265 on April 7. The Stars’ 29 strokes under par in the Oklahoma Baptist Invitational set the OCU tournament record for 36 holes.

James Marchesani leads the NAIA in stroke average this season at 70.79. The senior from Rosebud, Victoria, Australia, has won four tournaments this season including the Sooner Athletic Conference Championships and the NAIA Preview in a playoff. Marchesani was named SAC golfer of the year as well as being named NAIA golfer of the week twice and SAC golfer of the week three times.

Anthony Marchesani enters with NAIA Championships ranked third with a stroke average of 71.50. The sophomore from Rosebud, Victoria, Australia, won the Claud Jacobs Invitational and finished third in the SAC Championships to be named all-SAC. Marchesani was named SAC golfer of the week for Feb. 16-23.

Scott Verplank, a sophomore from Edmond, Okla., is averaging 73.80 shots per round in eight tournaments this season. Verplank finished in the top-10 three times including a fourth-place finish in the Oklahoma Baptist Invitational and a fifth-place performance in the San Antonio Shootout.

Freshman Matthew Cheung, of Brisbane, Australia, owns a stroke average of 74.10 through eight tournaments this season. Cheung has four top-10 finishes this season including fifth-place performances in the San Antonio Shootout and Oklahoma Baptist Invitational.

Garrison Mendoza, a freshman from Clinton, Okla., is averaging 73.79 and finished in a sixth-place tie in SAC Championships this season. Mendoza hit a hole-in-one during a practice round April 15 on the par-4 17th hole at Twin Hills Golf & Country Club in Oklahoma City.

“If we go take care of business we’ll be okay, and if not, we’ll work on some things,” Blaser said. “The big prize is the national tournament, and that is what we pride ourselves in. We’re excited about it, and I think we’re in good shape.”

Other SAC members to appear in the field at the NAIA Championships are No. 8 Oklahoma Baptist, No. 5 Texas Wesleyan and No. 1 Wayland Baptist (Texas).
The Stars will tee off at 8:10 a.m. CDT May 13 and will be paired with No. 15 Bellevue (Neb.) and Madonna (Mich.).

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Ken MacLeod

Publisher Golf Oklahoma | Oklahoma's No. 1 Golf Source

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