OKC Stars storm back to win 10th national title

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SILVIS, Ill. – Oklahoma City University bested the field by eight strokes for its 10th men’s golf national championship in the NAIA Championships Friday at TPC Deere Run.

Matthew Cheung led three Stars taking all-tournament acclaim with his runner-up finish. Third-ranked Oklahoma City posted its best round of the week to finish at 292-297-289-286-1,164.

Oklahoma City owns men’s golf national crowns won in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2013 and now, 2016. The Stars captured its 2010 national title at TPC Deere Run.

OCU triumphed for its 61st national championship in all sports. When the Stars took their third NAIA cross country championship in the fall, OCU kept alive a streak of winning a national title for the 23rd consecutive year dating to 1993-94.

Oklahoma City coach Kyle Blaser became NAIA coach of the year for the ninth time. Blaser notched tournament victory No. 99 in his 19th season as OCU coach.

The Stars overcame British Columbia’s seven-shot lead after 54 holes. No. 10-ranked British Columbia settled for a runner-up finish with a 299-289-283-301-1,172. No. 1-ranked William Woods (Mo.) led through two rounds, but slipped to third place with a 284-301-298-290 – 1,173. British Columbia finished as 2011 team runner-up at TPC Deere Run and as the 2008 national champion.

Cheung, Anthony Marchesani and Rupert Kaminski of OCU finished among the top 10 individuals to reel in all-tournament honors. Cheung delivered a 71-70-72-71-284 to finish three strokes off the pace set by Texas Wesleyan’s David Ravetto.

Cheung, a junior from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, buried four birdies on the back nine to make up for four bogeys on the his first nine holes. Cheung’s birdies came on the par-5, 581-yard 10th hole, par-4, 456-yard 15th hole, par-4, 153-yard 16th hole and the par-5, 550-yard 17th. Cheung became a two-time all-tournament performer after finishing tied for seventh in the national tournament as a freshman. Cheung joined Brent Akins as OCU’s other national runner-up finisher. Akins took second in 2005.

Marchesani fired a 72-72-73-72 – 289 to tie for fourth place and have his best national-tournament finish. Marchesani, a senior from Rosebud, Victoria, Australia, helped OCU win the 2013 national championship with his sixth-place finish for his other career all-tournament nod. Marchesani sank birdies on the par-5, 551-yard second hole, No. 10 and No. 17.

Kaminski provided the Stars with a 74-78-72-68 – 292 to finish tied for ninth. Kaminski, a freshman from Johannesburg, South Africa, dropped in birdies on the par-5, 429-yard fifth hole, No. 10, par-4, 418-yard 13th hole, No. 17 and the par-4, 463-yard 18th. Kaminski rose from tied for 53rd after the second round to into the top 10.

Jett Johnson nailed an eagle on No. 10 to start his back nine. Johnson, a senior from Norman, Okla., made birdie on No. 2 and the par-4, 456-yard 15th hole. Johnson carded a 76-79-72-75 – 302 for OCU.

Zac Oliver of the Stars produced a 75-77-73-80 – 305. Oliver, a senior from Checotah, Okla., knocked in a birdie on the 10th hole.

OCU turned around its finishing performance from round three. The Stars scored a combined even par with four birdies on Nos. 17 and 18 after tallying a 7 over par with two birdies on those holes Thursday. OCU teamed to make 12 birdies and an eagle on the back nine Friday.

David Ravetto of Texas Wesleyan was crowned as the individual champion, after shooting a 3-under-par 72-70-71-68 – 281 over the course of four days. Ravetto became the 10th Ram to take the O.D. Bounds medalist award for the most by any school. Seventh-ranked Texas Wesleyan finished fourth with a 298-303-293-282 – 1,176.

Fifth-ranked Wayland Baptist (Texas) shot 1,188 to take sixth. Ian Ansett paced Wayland Baptist with a 73-73-74-74 — 294 to tie for 11th and finish as an all-tournament honoree.
The day started with 70-degree temperatures, 13 mph winds and gusts up to 24 mph. The temperature reached 76 degrees, winds blew at 15 mph and clouds rolled in to finish the day overcast.

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Ken MacLeod

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

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