Team Pennsylvania fell back a little in the final round of the USGA Men’s State Team Championship Friday, settling for a tie for eighth at the Country Club of Birmingham’s West Course in Birmingham, Ala.
Christopher Crawford, who completed the best career in the history of the Drexel golf program last spring, and four-time U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Nathan Smith both carded 3-over-par 74s over the 7,044-yard, par-71 West Course to give the Keystone State a 6-over 148 for the final day and a 5-over 431 total. That left them in a tie for eighth with Texas, nine shots back of Michigan, which captured the title with a 4-under 422 total.
Pennsylvania had come into the final day in second place, two shots back of Connecticut at 1-under 283. The final member of the three-team Pennsylvania squad, Chip Lutz, the 2015 U.S. Senior Amateur champion from LedgeRock Golf Club, carded a final-round 76.
Crawford completed his golf eligibility last spring, but is in a five-year academic program at Drexel and is also helping out the Dragons as an assistant coach this season. His final-round 74 left him in fifth place in the individual standings at even-par 213.
Michigan got a 4-under 67 from 48-year-old Tom Werkmeister, who was one of the three qualifying co-medalists at the recent U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at Stonewall, to cruise to a four-shot victory and earn the state’s first USGA Men’s State Team crown.
Evan Bowser backed up Werkmeister’s effort with a 1-under 70 to give Michigan a 5-under 137 for the day and a 4-under 422 total.
Werkmeister shared medalist honors in the individual standings with Jay Whitby of Delaware at 5-under 208. Delaware failed to make the cut in the team competition, but Whitby was allowed to continue on in the individual chase and made the most of his opportunity, firing a 5-under 66 to get a share of the top spot with Werkmeister.
“I missed a couple of putts early in the round,” Werkmeister told the USGA website. “I’m like, well, at least I’m hitting it close. I’ve got chances, right? And then the putts started falling and I started kind of getting in the groove.
“It was just really, really cool, waiting for the last groups to come in, hanging out with our teammates, fist-bumping and hugging and slapping high-fives. At that point, I thought, win or lose, this is really cool.”
North Carolina, which got a pair of 70s from Justin Tereshko and Scott Harvey, who suffered a heartbreaking defeat on the 37th hole of the Mid-Am final at Stonewall, finished in a tie for second at 1-under 425. Tereshko’s 4-under 209 total left him alone in third place in the individual standings.
North Carolina was joined at 425 by Arizona, which got a 69 from Ken Tanigawa and a 72 from Cory Bacon for a final-round 141.
Florida also had a final-round 141 to finish alone in fourth at 2-over 428. The Sunshine State was led by Joe Alfieri, who lost to three-time BMW Philadelphia Amateur champion Michael McDermott in the second round of the Mid-Am at Stonewall. Alfieri had a final-round 70 and finished in a tie for sixth in the individual standings at 1-over 214.
Connecticut, which entered the final round with a two-shot lead, fell back with a final-round 149 and ended up in a tie for fifth at 4-over 430. Geoff Vartelas, who had helped Penn State reach the NCAA regionals as a senior last spring, had held the individual lead, but posted a final-round 79 to finish in a tie for 14th at 3-over 217.
Connecticut was joined at 430 by Minnesota, which had a final-round 145, and Washington, which posted a final-round 144.