Mark Goetz wins WVU Invitational • April 18, 2021
Mike is a freelance writer and host of The Golf Show on 93.7 The Fan Saturday mornings from 7-8 AM. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeDudurich.
BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. – Winning a collegiate golf tournament is the goal of every almost-ready-to-shave youngster who puts on their new school colors for the first time. It’s the same everywhere from the smallest Division III program to the sprawling campus of a Division I power university.
It doesn’t matter where or when the win takes place, just that it does. And when the victory comes, it’s a big deal.
Say hello to Mark Goetz.
The West Virginia senior capped off the regular season for the Mountaineers by shooting a career-best 65 as WVU won the Mountaineer Invitational for the third straight at the Pete Dye Golf Club in Bridgeport, W.Va.
“Ya know, I’ve grown to love that place,” Goetz said, talking about the Pete Dye course. “It showed me what I needed to work on. It made me a better player, no doubt. Like today, the rough was high and thick. It was like playing Oakmont CC last year. You really needed to keep the ball in the fairway.”
Goetz finished the 54-hole event with rounds of 70-69-65—204, the second-lowest 54-hole total in school history. That was one short of Etienne Papineau’s 203 in 2019 at the Old Town Club Collegiate in 203.
Going into the Mountaineer Invitational, Goetz led the team in scoring average at 71.60 and a 70.60 final-round average. Prior to the win, his best finish was a tie for sixth.
“Mark had an amazing round today,” coach Sean Covich said. “The rough was like the U.S. Open with really tough conditions. He has been our leader all year. I kept telling him he’s going to win a tournament. To do it at home is pretty special.”
Goetz, the reigning West Penn Open champion after a strong performance last year at Shannopin Country Club, was sharp throughout the event. But not nearly as sharp as he was Tuesday.
On his way to shooting the fourth-lowest round in school history, Goetz made no bogeys. He made seven birdies, one more than his previous high. Over the course of the tournament he made 16 birdies, two bogeys and one double bogey. He was bogey-free the last 28 holes of the event. As an aside, he was the only player in the field under par.
“Getting a win in college really tough,” Goetz, a native of Greensburg, said. “There’s a lot more to it than playing golf. A lot of school stuff to do on the side. Being in college is extremely difficult. That’s what stands out to me.”
Goetz got his first birdie on the third hole and took off from there. He played well because he kept the ball in the fairway and missed only one fairway the entire day. Playing at Pete Dye, Goetz has learned the value of playing from the short grass. He hits his driver around 300 yards although he didn’t use the big stick all that many times Tuesday.
“I never really controlled distance well,” Goetz admitted. “Even last year at Shannopin, I didn’t drive it straight, but now it’s the best club in my bag.”
While his round was a very good one, it’s not the best one he’s ever posted.
”Nah, the best one was the 60 I shot at Hannastown … with two bogeys,” he said. “I was just going out to play 36 that day. It just happened. It was just a calm day, playing a match with friends and boom, there it was.”
The victory was great for Goetz and the WVU golf team. But there’s even better news for both parties.
“I’m going to return for my fifth year,” Goetz said. He referred to the NCAA’s ruling that offered an extra year of eligibility as a result of the mayhem that ensued in 2020 as a result of COVID-19.
“I’m going to hang around here for another year,” he said. “This isn’t a great year for trying to get into pro golf. We’ll see about that after next season.”
While the regular season ended for the Mountaineers on Tuesday, they’ll continue to compete as a team, traveling to Hutchison, Kansas for the Big 12 Championship April 26-28.
About the WPGA
Founded in 1899, the Western Pennsylvania Golf Association is the steward of amateur golf in the region. Started by five Member Clubs, the association now has nearly 200 Member Clubs and 33,000 members. The WPGA conducts 14 individual competitions and 10 team events, and administers the WPGA Scholarship Fund.