Penn State Finishes 15th At NCAA Men's Golf Championships
June 4, 2004
Penn State finished 15th at the NCAA Men's Golf Championships in Hot Springs, Virginia, as the final round wrapped up Friday. Penn State's previous best NCAA finish was a 26th place showing in 1996.
California won the national title, six strokes ahead of its nearest competitor, firing a 14-over 1134 for the tournament. Meanwhile, Ryan Moore of UNLV captured the individual title at 13-under par. Moore shot an impressive 64 on Thursday and followed it with a 66 Friday.
After three consistent rounds of golf with scores of 289, 291, and 290, Penn State struggled on day four, shooting a 20-over 300 on Friday. Mark Leon led the Lions on each day, carding an overall 279 (69-69-70-71), for the tournament. His 1-over 71 in the fourth round was good enough to move him from eighth place into a tie for sixth with John Holmes of Kentucky. Leon battled a double bogey on No.12 Friday, but quickly fought back for birdies on 16 and 17. The junior birdied the par-5 17th on all four days.
Greg Pieczynski was the team's second lowest scorer, finishing the 72 holes with a 298. After shooting 6-over-par on Tuesday, Pieczynski came back for the Lions with a 74, 73, and 75 in the final three rounds.
Penn State's team performance was even more impressive considering the Nittany Lions were listed at No. 62 in the latest Goflweek/ Sagarin rankings heading into the tournament. >>More From Penn State
Shiv Kapur of Purdue also earned a top-10 finish, ending the day in a five-way tie for 10th place. Kapur shot a 72 Friday, leaving him at 2-over (72-68-70-72) for the tournament. It is the best finish for the senior Boilermaker at NCAAs, bettering his previous best of 13th in 2002. >>More From Purdue
The last Big Ten competitor to finish among the individual top-10 was Minnesota's Justin Smith, who placed 4th in 2002.
Indiana's Jeff Overton slipped in the individual standings, after firing a 7-over 77 Friday. Overton, the Big Ten Player of the Year, began the round tied with Leon for eighth place, but ended the tournament in a 20th place tie with his 5-over-par 285 (67-72-69-77). The junior has been competing all week as an individual after receiving an at-large bid following his performance at regionals. >>More From Indiana