Going into the NCAA Golf Regional tournament at the Sagamore Golf Club, Mark Goetz did not plan on looking at the leaderboard until the final day. If he had stuck to his promise, he would not have had to look too hard to find his name on the final day. All he had to do was start at the top of the board and… stop. Among some of the best amateur golfers in the world, Goetz found himself at the front of the pack.
Goetz did not just prove that he was worthy of golfing alongside the best in the world, he showed he’s capable of beating them.
Tied with Purdue’s Cole Bradley walking up to the 17th tee box on the final day, Goetz was directly in the running to pick up a major victory and advance to the NCAA National Championship in a few weeks. Unfortunately for Goetz, Bradley capped off a historic 65 (7-under-par) in the final round to win the event by two strokes and leave Goetz in second place. With only the top individual golfer from the region advancing to the National Championship, Goetz’s luck was not in his favor. Beating everyone in the talented field except Bradley — one of the other individual golfers.
Regardless, a second-place finish for Goetz validates a strong season of golf for himself and points to an even brighter future for Goetz and West Virginia golf next season.
While a first-round 74 (2-over-par) might have rattled some golfers at one of the biggest tournaments of the year thus far, Goetz didn’t blink. Tied for 33rd entering day two in Noblesville, Indiana, Goetz put together one of the best rounds of golf all week (two eagles and three birdies on day two) and finished the day tied for fourth after carding a 66 (6-under-par).
With those above him struggling in the final round, Goetz surged out with three birdies over his first five holes — sandwiched around a bogey, however — to jump out in front of the pack. Going one under over the final nine holes, Goetz was simply unlucky that Bradley birdied five of his last seven holes to clinch the win.
Goetz finished the tournament with two eagles, 14 birdies, eight bogies and just one double bogey over the 54 hole tournament. Despite the disappointing end to Goetz’s season, he really blossomed during his senior season — winning the WVU Invitational, placing in the top 10 in multiple events and finishing second in one of the most competitive tournaments of the season.