Strong Second Round Propels Army To Top Of Leaderboard

Marcus Plunkett shot five-under par Sunday.

Marcus Plunkett shot five-under par Sunday.

Oct. 6, 2013

WEST POINT, N.Y. – Despite raw and gloomy conditions in the Hudson Valley, the Army golf team shot eight-under par in the second round to take a one-shot lead after 36 holes of the Stars & Stripes Invitational at the par-69 West Point Golf Course Sunday. The Black Knights were in third place after the first 18 holes, but had four of their five competitors shoot par or better during the afternoon session.

Army (+3) leads Patriot League foe Loyola by just one shot (+4). The Greyhounds led the field after the first round.

“In the morning round, although we didn’t play that well, the guys stayed patient,” head coach Brian Watts said. “They knew it was going to be a long day. There were lots of pars and birdies out there, it was just a matter of allowing the game to come to them instead of forcing shots and chasing pins. The golf course played much easier in the afternoon because of the weather, and our scores reflected that.”

The Black Knights also had two of the top three individuals during Sunday’s play. Sophomore Marcus Plunkett fired back-to-back rounds under par (66-67) to pace the field at five-under. Plunkett is one of two players under par after 36 holes, and was the only player in the field to break par twice on Sunday.

“Marcus had a great day,” Watts said. “He played very consistently, and his patience really showed during the afternoon round.”

Classmate Eric Peng enters Monday’s final round at even par. Peng opened play with a three-over 72, but rebounded in the afternoon with a three-under 66, including an eagle on the 18th hole.

Freshman Peter Kim made his home debut on Sunday, completing the first two rounds tied for eighth place at five-over par. Kim shot 72 in the opening round and 71 during the second session. Classmate Justin Pagila had a rough start, shooting 79, but came back strong in the second round with a three-under 66 to finish the day tied for 16th at seven-over par. Junior Robby Hill rounded out Army’s group with an eight-over par 146. Hill shot 77 in the first round, but came back to post even par in the second round.

Senior Harrison Florence also competed on Sunday, scoring as an individual only. Florence is tied for 24th   at 10-over par (76-72).

The 54-hole event wraps up on Monday. The final round begins with a shotgun start at 9 a.m.

“I think the team needs to be focused and ready to play from tomorrow’s first tee shot,” Watts said. “They shouldn’t be concerned with what’s going on around them. They just need to stick to their routines, which will allow them to play their best golf. They know they can’t control the outcome so they just need to take care of their business and  hope we’re in contention coming down the stretch.”

Team Standings (through 2 rounds)
1.    Army (287-268) +3
2.    Loyola (273-283) +4
3.    Lehigh (285-292) +25
4.    Pacific (298-283) +29
5.    Bucknell (301-285) +34
6.    Columbia (296-292) +36
7.    UC Santa Barbara (306-288) +42
8.    Bethune Cookman (307-293) +48
9.    Holy Cross (329-297) +74
10.   Lafayette (318-314) +80

Army Individuals
1. Marcus Plunkett (66-67) -5; t-3. Eric Peng (72-55) E; t-8. Peter Kim (72-71) +5; t-16. Justin Pagila (79-66) +7; t-20. Robby Hill (77-69) +8

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