State College, Pa. - The Nittany Lions showed up in force on Monday at the PSUAC/USCAA Championships on the Penn State Blue Course. Hazleton notched some of their best scores of the season at just the right time, vaulting to the top of the conference leaderboard with a combined total of 312 strokes, good enough for a 17 shot advantage over Penn State York who came in with a team total of 329. The Lions efforts have them in great position for Tuesday's final round, where they'll look to capture their first conference title since the 2011 season and quite possibly make a run at the national title as well. Amongst USCAA competitors, Hazleton golf ranked fifth on the day, trailing St. Mary of the Woods by 15 shots for the tournament lead.
The Lions got three rounds in the 70's on Monday from Jeremy Harper (Mountain Top, Pa.), Joey Rebarchick (Hazle Township, Pa.) and Colin Hoy (Harlysville, Pa.) as they surged ahead for the midway point lead. Harper started his day with back to back bogies but was nearly perfect on his final 16 holes Monday. Harper proceed to reel off seven straight pars followed by a birdie at the par five 12th where he drained a 20 foot putt to get back to one over par. The junior continued to roll on the back side, posting a 35 after a birdie at the 18th to finish at two over par with a 74. Harper finished the day in second place amongst PSUAC competitors, just one shot shy of Lehigh Valley's Ian Masenheimer and three shots back of the overall leader in the USCAA Tournament.
Joey Rebarchick continued to improve his play and turned in his best 18 holes of the season. Rebarchick had a five hole stretch in the middle of the round where he knocked in three birdies to help his cause and finished the round with five straight pars to card a six over par round of 78. Hoy made par on six of the first seven holes he faced to get off to a solid start and despite having no birdies on the card, the junior managed the golf course well enough to keep any serious miscues to a minimum and post a 79. Both Rebarchick finds himself in the top 20 in the USCAA field with Hoy just shy of the mark while both will look to contend on Tuesday for an All-Conference and All-American award.
The remainder of the Nittany Lion roster posted notable scores as well, including the Lions' fourth counting score on the day from Will Long (Honesdale, Pa.). Long was just one over par after nine holes and continued to play well throughout much of the day. Long's final three holes will be three he'll want back after a pair of doubles and a bogie spoiled an otherwise outstanding round. He'll get that opportunity on Tuesday as will Kolton Weaver (Bloomsburg, Pa.) and David Simons (Freehold, Nj.) Weaver and Simons put up quality scores of 86 respectively and will look to continue to sure up Hazleton's team score as they chase down a potential championship on Tuesday.
Next up: One more round to go on Tuesday at the Penn State Blue Course. Players tee off at 9:00 a.m. and look for live updates throughout the day as the Lions look to hold off a hungry field of competitors at the golf championships.