LITTLESTOWN, Pa. Freshman Matt Krembel won his first collegiate event to lead the Army golf team a second-place finish, Saturday afternoon at the Mount St. Mary’s Spring Invitational.
Krembel shot a six-under-par 66 during Saturday’s 18-hole final round to win his first tournament with a three-round total of 10-under-par 206.
The freshman from Shalimar, Fla., rebounded from an opening-round 74 to shoot a pair of 66s and become Army’s first champion since Austin Luher won the URI Invitational in 2006.
As a team, Army posted its best round of the season, shooting a 292 in perfect conditions at the par-72, 7,027-yard layout.
“We’ve done something we haven’t done in a while and that is to keep lowering our scores,” said Army head coach Jimmy Ray Clevenger. “Some good things are starting to come together. We still have a ways to go but we are going in the right direction. We are starting to think about being a good tournament team, a good, solid team and an NCAA team. It may happen soon, it may take a while.”
Longwood, an NCAA squad a year ago, defended its title with a score of 288-287-288863, followed by Army (297-294-292883), Bryant (300-296-295891), Temple (303-290-299892) and Rider (308-295-291894).
Minou Pak and Sam Walenz took slightly different paths but finished it a tie for 18th. Pak fired a one-under-71 and finished at 224, while Walenz shot a 79, following a 73 and 72 during the opening day.
Matthew Hanlon was consistent all weekend, following up two 77s with a 76 to finish at 230 and tied for 42nd. Wes Carver shot an 81 during his final round for a 273 and a tie for 67th.
Mark Garrison and Patrick Beverly competed as individuals and did not figure into the team scoring. Garrison shot an 80 during the final round and was tied for 24th at 226. Beverly came in with an 82 on Saturday and was tied for 59th with a 235.
Krembel has played in nine events and prior to this weekend, had a best-finish of tied for fifth. That all changed on Saturday as the freshman posted an Army-best 54-hole score of 10-under-par.
“Matt’s whole game was solid,” said Clevenger. “He drove the ball well but his irons were laser.’ He was knocking the pin down and not hitting a lot of errant shots. He was solid the last two rounds. It’s so hard to shoot a really good round and follow it up with up another but Matt made very few mistakes.”
Army will continue preparations for the Patriot League Championships which are set for next weekend in Bethlehem, Pa. A group of golfers will compete at the St. Peter’s Invitational on Tuesday with the rest of the team at the West Point Golf Course practicing.
“We’re going into next week with a great frame of mind,” said Clevenger. “We’re playing really well. We just have to go in and have a great start.”
DIVOTS: Army’s team score of 292 was a season-best, one stroke better than the final round score at the Mid-Pines Intercollegiate in Pinehurst, N.C. ... Matt Krembel’s previous-best finish was a tie for fifth at the BSC Spring Invitational ... Sam Walenz posted his second top-20 finish, after finishing tied for seventh at the BSC ... Minou Pak’s 18th-place finish was a season-best and his second top-20 showing ... Mark Garrison tied for 24th while competing as an individual, his best finish of the season.
Mount St. Mary’s Spring Invitational
Quail Valley Golf Course
2. Army 297-294-292883
1 Matt Krembel 74-66-66---206
T18 Sam Walenz 73-72-79224
T18 Minou Pak 74-79-71224
T42 Matthew Hanlon 77-77-76--230
T67 Wes Carver 76-80-81237
T24 Mark Garrison 72-74-80226
T59 Patrick Beverly 77-76-82235