WHEELING, W.Va. — IUP rallied from four strokes back in the third round to finish in first place at the 2013 NCAA Division II Atlantic/East Super Regional golf tournament at Oglebay Resort’s Robert Trent Jones Course in Wheeling, W.Va. on Wednesday.
Zack Kempa also participated in his own comeback to take the individual title, shooting a 2-under-par 69 in the final round Wednesday. He finished with at 1-over 214 for the tournament.
The win secured an automatic bid to the national tournament, which will be held May 20 to 22 at the Hershey Country Club East Course. IUP will be making its sixth consecutive trip to the national championship event and its 11th in the last 20 years.
IUP was 10 strokes off the lead after the first round Monday. The Crimson Hawks shot a 24-over 308 and were tied with the Charleston (W.Va.) for second behind Wilmington (Del.). They rebounded in the second round, improving by 13 strokes with an 11-over 295, the best team score of the day, and sat four strokes behind Wilmington entering the final round.
The Crimson Hawks continued their improvement in the third round, shooting a 4-over 288 to gain the lead and defeat Wilmington by five strokes.
Kempa finished the first round at 4-over 75, which left him tied for sixth three shots off the lead. He came back in the second round with a 1-under 70, closing the gap with Millersville’s Robert Coyne to two strokes entering the final round. Kempa shot a 2-under 69 in the third round while Coyne shot a 1-over 72 to win by one stroke.
Kempa had four birdies and two bogeys in the final round, all on the front nine. He went even par on the back nine as his consistency kept him in the lead down the stretch.
Teammate Jack Owen finished in a tie for 10th place at 12-over 225. Kenny Sames finished in a tie for 27th at 16-over 229, and Derek Baker tied for 34th at 17-over 230. Sean Sweithelm, an Indiana High School graduate, rounded out IUP’s effort with a 19-over 232, finishing in a tie for 39th.
All five IUP players had their best round Wednesday. In addition to Kempa’s 2 under, Sweithelm was 1 over, Owen 2 over, Baker 3 over and Sames 4 over.