Golf Team Readies For First Army-Navy Competition Of 2013-14

Marcus Plunkett won both his matches versus Navy last season.

Marcus Plunkett won both his matches versus Navy last season.

Sept. 26, 2013

ANNAPOLIS, Md.  – The Army golf team will square off with arch-rival Navy in the annual Star Match beginning Saturday afternoon at the U.S. Naval Academy Golf Club. The Ryder Cup format event will determine which Academy will claim the 74th Star in the series history.

The only dual match on Army’s schedule begins on Saturday with four, four-ball matches where the winner of the two-on-two battles will be determined by the team member with the lowest score on each hole. Sunday’s docket includes seven individual matches. The first team to claim six points wins the Star.

“We’ve been playing matches the last couple of weeks to prepare,” head coach Brian Watts said. “We won’t have any surprises. Hopefully, after Saturday we have a few points on the board.”

Army won last year’s meeting, 8.5-2.5, the largest margin of victory in the series. The Black Knights have not won back-to-back Star Matches since claiming victories in 2004 and 2005.

“We try to treat this like it’s a regular tournament, but it goes much deeper with the cadets,” Watts said. “It’s their opportunity to play Navy head-to-head. They realize that all the players that came before will be cheering them on. It’s their chance to win a Star and represent not just West Point, but the U.S. Army.

The rivalry began in 1939 and the two teams have met nearly every year since. The Black Knights discontinued golf in 1943-44. The first 30 meetings were decided by match play, but from 1971-1994 the winner was determined by strokes. The match play format returned in 1995 and has been primarily used since. Each of the last 11 Star Matches has been decided with match play. Navy leads the all-time series, 41-31-1.

“This is by far the most exciting golf we play all year with maybe the exception of the NCAAs,” Watts said. “It will be key for us to keep our emotions in check. As coaches, we need to make sure the cadets are well prepared and just focused on the next shot.”

The Black Knights will travel their entire eight-man roster to Annapolis. The teams will exchange their pairings prior to the start of Saturday’s matches.

After its trip to Annapolis, Army continues its fall schedule on Oct. 6-7 when it hosts the Starts and Stripes Invitational at the West Point Golf Course.

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