NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Patrick Newcomb’s strong final round Tuesday lifted him and the Murray State Racers to individual and team honors in the Big Blue Invitational hosted by Tennessee State at Hermitage Country Club.
Newcomb, a Marshall County High School graduate from Benton, boosted his candidacy for OVC Golfer of the Year by coming from six shots back in the final 18 to get the victory with a 5-under-par 67.
The Racers claimed the team title with a whopping 19-stroke margin over Tennessee Tech.
That sends the team into the Ohio Valley Conference tournament this week on a high note.
“This performance couldn’t have come at a better time,” MSU coach Eddie Hunt said. “I think the key here is we feel like we’ve got the right lineup, it has experience and we proved today that we can play with anybody.”
The tournament is scheduled Thursday through Saturday at GreyStone Golf Club in Clarksville, Tenn. Austin Peay is the host school.
In last week’s tourney at Nashville, Newcomb started the tournament with a 1-over-par 73, but closed with a 69 and 67 to get in with a 209 total to beat out Southern Illinois’s Jake Erickson by one shot. Newcomb birdied his last two holes to get his third victory in the 2011-12 season and his sixth top-five finish.
Newcomb claimed Kentucky Golf Association player of the year honors last year after completing a banner summer season. He won the Kentucky State Amateur title, teamed with former Racer Josh Rhodes to win the KGA Fred Allen Team Championship and tied for low amateur at the Powerbilt Kentucky Open.
He is bidding to become the second straight MSU golfer to win the conference player award, following Cameron Carrico.
Newcomb and former state high school championship teammate Hunter York of Hardin shared fourth place and the Racers were in the lead after 36 holes of the tournament.
York finished third with scores of 71-71-69 – 211.
MSU placed four of the starting five in the top 10 of the event, which featured 63 competitors.
In addition to Newcomb and York, Tyler Brown posted his best finish of the season with a seventh-place showing on rounds of 70-73-70 – 213 and William Hunt posted a 10th place finish with rounds of 69-70-75 – 214.
Dustin Gosser placed 17th for the Racers with scores of 71-72-74 – 217.
MSU carded scores of 281-282-280 – 843 to Tennessee Tech’s 862. MSU was a combined 21 strokes under par at the Hermitage course that played to a par of 72 and 6,800 yards.
The rest of the field included: SIU (862), UT Martin (865) and IPFW (865) making up the top five, while Eastern Illinois (873), Morehead State (878), Tennessee State (880), North Dakota (880) and Trevecca Nazarene (884) rounded out the field.
The win was MSU’s best showing in the spring portion of the 2011-12 season. It is the 27th win for Hunt,now in 11th season with the Racers. His teams have won 10 times in the last three seasons and MSU now has 10 straight seasons with at least two wins.