OCU ready for run at NAIA championship

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SILVIS, Ill. – Oklahoma City University returns to the site of its 2010 national title at TPC Deere Run in the NAIA men’s golf championships starting 7:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday.

The Stars, who moved up to third in the last top 25, tees off at the No. 1 hole 9:10 a.m. Tuesday. Stay updated on the tournament via live results and a daily recap show available 8 p.m. each night during the tournament.

Oklahoma City takes aim at its 10th national title after winning championships in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012 and 2013. OCU took its 21st Sooner Athletic Conference championship April 18-19 at Waterchase Golf Club in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Stars set the program record for shots under par in 54 holes (34) and the SAC Championships scoring record (282-272-276–830).

“The guys are starting to peak at the right time,” OCU coach Kyle Blaser said. “We are starting to come together as a group. It’s a good group of guys, and they are starting to play well. There’s not a better time to play well than conference and nationals. I’m looking forward to what’s in front of us.”

Rupert Kaminski has posted a sizzling 65.00 scoring average over his past two tournaments, both of which were victories for the freshman from Johannesburg, South Africa. Kaminski captured the individual SAC title with a 21-under-par 67-63-65–195 to top the NCAA men’s golf championships record of 20-under-par 67-66-63–196 shot by Charles Howell III in 2000.

Kaminski has lowered his stroke average to an NAIA-best 71.15. Kaminski took the NAIA golfer of the week honor for April 18-24 along with the last two SAC golfer of the week awards. He has three tournament victories this season.

“It was impressive,” Blaser said of Kaminski’s conference championship performance. “Rupert is a very confident young man. He hits the ball straight. He’s very smart on the golf course and plays to his strengths. He really doesn’t get into trouble, and his short game is really strong. He’s tough to beat.”

Anthony Marchesani copped his fifth career tournament championship when he won the NAIA Preview on Oct. 19-20 at TPC Deere Run. Marchesani, a senior from Rosebud, Victoria, Australia, picked up third place in the Hardscrabble Invitational on April 11-12, then runner-up in the SAC Championships. Marchesani boasts of a 72.23 stroke average this season. He made all-tournament in the 2013 NAIA Championships.

“Anthony’s playing well,” Blaser said. “You couldn’t ask for a better senior leader. He just goes out and works his tail off. Hopefully he’ll go out on top this year. We are expecting great things from Anthony.”

Matthew Cheung had four top-10 finishes in five events to open the season. Cheung, a junior from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, placed third in the U.C. Ferguson Classic on Sept. 14-15 at Lincoln Park Golf Course. He was all-tournament at the 2014 NAIA Championships. Cheung has fired a 73.26 stroke average this season.

Zac Oliver posted top-10 finishes in these past two tournaments to help OCU to team wins. Oliver, a senior from Checotah, Okla., tied for eighth in the SAC Championships. His stroke average stands at 74.65 this season.

Jett Johnson turned in a career-best fourth-place showing in the San Antonio Shootout on Feb. 29-March 1 at TPC San Antonio. Johnson, a senior from Norman, Okla., has compiled 75.19 shots per round this season.

“These guys are in it for the team,” Blaser said. “They all pick each other up when they’re down. They fight hard for each other. That’s huge for what we have to accomplish as a group.”

TPC Deere Run will be set up in a par-71, 7,066-yard layout. TPC Deere Run previously hosted the NAIA Championships from 2009-11. The PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic returns to TPC Deere Run on Aug. 11-14.

The forecast for the week calls for temperatures in the 80s with 88 degrees the high temperature predicted for Thursday. Rain chances loom each day with Wednesday’s chance for precipitation 50 percent and Friday’s at 80 percent.

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Ken MacLeod

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

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