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by on May 22, 2014 10:40 AM

ALLENDALE, Mich. — Zack Kempa birdied the final hole of the third round Wednesday to help IUP advance to the match-play round in the NCAA Division II Golf Championships at The Meadows Golf Course.

Kempa’s birdie capped a four-stroke comeback with seven holes to play. IUP was in 10th place, four strokes back of the cut, with players on holes 11 through 15, and had to pass two teams to advance. They followed with six birdies by three players, including two by Kempa on the final two holes.

The top eight teams after three rounds advanced to this morning’s match play. IUP battled North Alabama, California State-Monterey Bay and Armstrong Atlantic (Fla.) for the final spot. IUP went into the last two holes trailing Armstrong Atlantic by four strokes and North Alabama by three.

Kempa clinched the spot for IUP with a 4-foot birdie putt on the par-5 ninth hole. He reached the green in two and two-putted from 50 feet for birdie.

The Crimson Hawks shot an 11-over 295 on Wednesday, their best score of the championships. Their three-round total of 895 (43 over) tied with Cal State-Monterey Bay for seventh overall. North Alabama finished ninth, one stroke back at 44-over 896, and Armstrong Atlantic was 10th at 46-over 898.

IUP’s opponent in match play is Nova Southeastern (Fla.), which finished the third round in the lead at 11-over 863. The winner advances to face the winner of a match between Malone (Ohio) and Central Missouri today.

Kempa shot a 1-over 72 on Wednesday, going 4 under on the last 10 holes. Two of the birdies came on par 5s when he rebounded from three bogeys and a double-bogey in his first seven holes. He finished in a tie for 19th place with at 9-over 222.

Kenneth Sames finished with IUP’s best score of the day, a 1-under 70. He recorded four birdies and 11 pars, with two of the birdies coming on his final six holes. He was also the Crimson Hawks’ top scorer for the tournament, finishing in a tie for 11th place at 7-over 220.

Today’s other matches are: Barry (Fla.) vs. Cal State-Monterey Bay; and Chico State (Calif.) vs. Lynn (Fla.).

The winners after today’s two rounds play in the championship match Friday.

Mirza Zukic is a sports writer that primarily covers the Pittsburgh Steelers and is the Gazette's track and field beat writer.
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