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Monday, April 16, 2018

Miller leads Penn State to fourth straight Rutherford Intercollegiate title

   With its two Pennsylvania Amateur champions leading the way, host Penn State won the Rutherford Intercollegiate for the fourth straight year Sunday at Penn State’s Blue Course in State College.
   The Nittany Lions, No. 42 in the latest Golfstat rankings, took control of the tournament with a sizzling 8-under-par 276 over the 7,202-yard, par-71 Blue Course layout Saturday afternoon, the second round of a double-round played in benign, almost summerlike conditions.
   Maybe State College was far enough west that it didn’t take the brunt of the ocean breezes that brought winter back to the Philadelphia region Sunday, but the conditions must have been tough. Still, Penn State grinded out a 4-over 288, the best team score of the day, that gave it an 8-under 844 total.
   No. 94 West Virginia finished up with an 8-over 292 to claim runnerup honors at 7-over 859, 15 shots behind Penn State. Oakland, ranked 153rd, was another eight shots behind West Virginia in third at 15-over 867 after a final-round 303. The Golden Grizzlies opened with the low team round of the tournament, a sparkling 10-under 274, before cooling off Saturday afternoon with a 6-over 290.
   No. 134 Loyola of Maryland finished fourth at 18-over 870, its weekend highlighted by a 1-under 283 in Saturday’s second round. No. 129 Eastern Michigan matched par in the second round with a 284 before finishing up with a 299 that left it alone in fifth place at 24-over 876.
   Georgetown, in its final tuneup before the Big East Championship, finished ninth in the 12-team field at 41-over 893. The Hoyas sandwiched an 11-over 295 in Saturday’s second round with a pair of 299s.
   Senior Cole Miller, a Northwestern Lehigh product, nailed down the individual victory in his final appearance in his home event with a 7-under 206 total that was highlighted by a dazzling 6-under 65 in Saturday’s second round.
   Miller, the individual winner in last year’s NCAA Washington Regional, opened with a 1-under 70 Saturday morning and matched par in the difficult conditions Sunday with a 71.
Miller captured the 2016 Pennsylvania Amateur title at Moselem Springs Golf Club. Teammate JD Hughes, a junior from Carlisle, followed up Miller’s win by claiming the state amateur crown last summer at White Manor Country Club.
   And Hughes looks like he’s regained some of that form from last summer as he finished tied for third in the Rutherford with a 2-under 211 total, five shots behind Miller. After opening with a 1-over 72, Hughes contributed a 2-under 69 to Penn State’s strong second-round team showing before finishing up with a 1-under 70.
   Charles Huntzinger, a junior from Duluth, Ga., finished tied for sixth at even-par 213, an effort highlighted by a 2-under 69 in the opening round.
   Ryan Davis, a sophomore from Berkeley Heights, N.J., gave Penn State a fourth top-10 finisher as he joined the group tied for eighth at 1-over 214. Davis shared medalist honors with Huntzinger for Penn State in the opening round with a 2-under 69. He matched par with a 71 Saturday afternoon before finishing up with a 74.
   Rounding out the starting five for Penn State was Alec Bard, a sophomore from New Hartford, N.Y. who finished tied for 36th at 10-over 223. After a pair of 2-over 73s Saturday, Bard finished up with a 77.
   Penn State sent out its entire roster at its home event with five more players competing as individuals, the most intriguing of whom was junior Ryan Dornes, the 2014 PIAA Class AAA runnerup when he was at Manheim Township.
   Dornes was playing great golf in the middle of the spring campaign a year ago when an injury sidelined him. The Nittany Lions managed to earn a trip to the NCAA Championship at Rich Harvest Farms despite his absence.
   Dornes finished tied for 18th at 5-over 218 this past weekend as he opened with a 3-over 74 and added a pair of 1-over 72s. The Nittany Lions have one more regular-season tournament, the Kepler Invitational at Ohio State, before Penn State head coach Greg Nye has to decide which five he takes to the Big Ten Championship. It will be interesting to see if Dornes played his way into the lineup with his performance in the Rutherford.
   James McHugh, a freshman from Rye, N.Y., made a solid debut for Penn State in the Rutherford, finishing tied for 27th at 8-over 221 following a final round of 2-over 73. Daniel Martinez, a freshman from Austin, Texas, finished tied for 31st at 222 after finishing up with a 76.
   Connor Raeman, a junior from Canandaigua, N.Y., finished tied for 50th at 226, including a solid even-par 72 in Saturday’s second round. Freshman Lukas Clark, a former Council Rock South standout, also made his Penn State debut and finished tied for 66th at 234. His best effort, a 4-over 75, also came in Saturday’s second round.
   West Virginia’s Max Sear, a junior from Canada, was the runnerup to Miller, his 4-under 209 total trailing the winner by three shots. Sear opened with a 4-under 67 and added a 1-under 70 Saturday afternoon before finishing up with a 1-over 72 Sunday.
   Seton Hall’s Chris Yeom, a junior from Flushing, N.Y., shared third place with Penn State’s Hughes at 2-under 211. Yeom fired a pair of 2-under 69s in Saturday’s double-round before finishing up with a 2-over 73.
   Oakland’s Connor Jones, a senior from Shelby, Mich. competing as individual, finished alone in fifth at 1-under 212. Jones started fast with an opening round of 5-under 66 before adding a pair of 2-over 73s.
   Jones’ teammate, Marc Norton, a junior from Northern Ireland, shared sixth place with Penn State’s Huntzinger at even-par 213. Norton went 67-68 in Saturday’s double-round and shared the individual lead with Miller after two rounds before falling back with a final-round 78.
   Georgetown was led by senior Cole Berman, a two-time Inter-Ac League champion at The Haverford School and the 2015 BMW Philadelphia Amateur champion. After opening with a 1-over 72, Berman added rounds of 74 and 75 to finish in the group tied for 27th at 8-over 221.
   Sam Madsen, a senior from Madison, Wis., finished in the group tied for 36th at 223 after adding a pair of 74s to an opening-round 75. Patrick DiPasquale, a sophomore from Rochester, N.Y., finished in the group tied for 42nd at 224 after a final-round 76.
   The third of the Hoyas’ trio of seniors, Jack Musgrave of Chesterton, Ind., finished in the group tied for 54th at 227 after a final-round 76. Rounding out the Georgetown lineup was Eduardo Blochtein, a sophomore from Delray Beach, Fla. who finished in the group tied for 62nd at 230 after adding a final-round 74 to the pair of 78s he carded in Saturday’s double-round.
   Georgetown also brought along Hardin Council, a sophomore from High Point, N.C. who competed as an individual. It was a solid showing for Council, who opened with a 1-over 72 and added rounds of 74 and 79 to finish in the group tied for 46th at 225.
   It was the final tuneup for the Hoyas before the Big East Championship, which will tee off Sunday, April 29 at the Callawassie Island Golf Club in Okatie, S.C. A win in the Big East Championship would give Georgetown an automatic bid in an NCAA regional, a ticket the Hoyas earned two years ago when Berman, Madsen and Musgrave were sophomores.

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