Harper leads Hazleton to first place tie

Jeremy Harper tees off at the PSUAC White Course.
Jeremy Harper tees off at the PSUAC White Course.

State College, Pa. - Freshman Jeremy Harper fired a 69 on Thursday afternoon at the PSUAC Invitational on the White Course in State College, Pa. leading a trio of Nittany Lions who posted scores in the 70's. Hazleton combined for team total of 306, tying Penn State Lehigh Valley for first place honors although a matching of scorecards resulted in a win for Lehigh Valley. Harper's minus three day was eclipsed only by Lehigh Valley's Brian Zinman who took home the individual medalist award with a 68 on the day, leaving Harper with runner up honors in his collegiate debut. 

Harper had high expectations coming into the season following a solid summer on links and didn't disappoint on Thursday. The freshman got off to a great start, knocking an approach shot to just three feet for a kick-in birdie on his first hole of the day. That birdie freed up Harper up to settle in and focus on the round. Solid putting on the front nine kept the scorecard free of any big numbers and Harper was able to hover in red figures all afternoon. Harper came to the par 5, 18th hole at minus two and laced a mammoth drive in the center of the fairway, leaving just 170 yards from the from the green. His approach left an easy up and down from the collar, allowing the freshman to cap his day in the same fashion it began and card 69 for the match. 

Harper wasn't the only Nittany Lion hitting the ball well on Thursday as fellow teammate Mark Lusk followed close behind with a three over par 75. Lusk battled through some ups and downs throughout the day but shot minus one on holes 1-6 and sank a 25 foot putt on the 17th green for bogey to avoid posting a big number. Freshman Colin Hoy struggled a bit with the flatstick but kept his round in tact with quality shots around the green. A chip in birdie on the 15th from behind the green salvaged the round and gave the freshman a spark to finish the round with confidence and shoot 78 on the day. Rounding out the scores for Hazleton was senior Joshua Provost with an 84 on the day. Provost parred his first five holes of the day but ran into trouble on the back nine. Ultimately a solid score of 39 on the front side salvaged the round and kept the Lions in contention in the team event. 

Next Up: Hazleton is off for the next seven days but tees it up again in PSUAC action on Wednesday, September 11 at Mountain Valley Golf Club for the Penn State Schuylkill Invitational.