BETHLEHEM, PA — A 20-foot breaking birdie putt on the 18th hole gave Navy junior Chris House (Raleigh, N.C.) his first Patriot League individual title, while helping lead the Midshipmen to a second-place finish at the 2013 Patriot League Men's Golf Championship played Saturday and Sunday at the Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Pa.
Lehigh (299-296-303 = 898), who led from the opening round, captured the Patriot League Championship by seven strokes over the Midshipmen (308-294-303 = 905), who were seeking their seventh Patriot League crown. The Mids trailed the Mountain Hawks by seven strokes going into the final round, but were unable to cut into the lead as the two teams shot mirroring 303s over Sunday's final 18 holes. It was Lehigh's first Patriot League men's golf title since 1997.
Army (308-301-306 = 915) placed third, followed by Bucknell (307-312-310 = 929), Lafayette (314-309-325 = 948), Holy Cross (316-311-323 = 350) and Colgate (321-318-326 = 965).
While Navy as a team was unable to overcome the deficit to claim the team title, House became the seventh different Navy player to win the Patriot League individual crown and be named the Patriot League Most Outstanding Golfer. He is the first Navy golfer to win the title since Erich Schoen, who ironically took medalist honors at the Saucon Valley Country Club in 2008, as did Navy's Brian Crum in 2003.
House came into the final round trailing Army freshman Marcus Plunkett by one stroke. House turned in the low round of the day with a 1-over par 73, winning the title in dramatic fashion with a 20-foot breaking birdie putt on the final hole of the tournament. He finished with a three-round mark of 3-over par 219.
"Chris put together a strong game throughout the weekend," said Navy head coach Pat Owen. "His short game was sharp today and he made some timely birdies. Probably no one birdie was more important than the one on the 54th hole. While we are disappointed we weren't able to capture the team title, we are ecstatic for Chris."
By way of his individual title, House will represent the Naval Academy at one of the NCAA Regional sites (May 16-18) to be announced.
While House garnered First-Team All-Patriot League recognition, teammates August Jonas (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Drew Selby (Charlotte, N.C.) were second-team honorees who also finished among the top 10. Jonas was able to overcome a rough opening round to tie for sixth with an 11-over par 227 (80-72-75) and earn All-Patriot League kudos for a second consecutive year. Selby, meanwhile, finished just outside of the top 10 a year ago, but captured All-Patriot League recognition on Sunday after tying for ninth. Like Jonas, Selby had a tough start to the tournament, but improved his game as the tournament wore on for a 12-over par 228.
Junior David Hall (Huntersville, N.C.) just missed out on all-league honors, placing 11th in the final standings. He played consistent rounds on Saturday, but was unable to tame the course in the final round where he shot a 9-over 81. He finished 16 over (76-75-81 = 232). Rounding out the lineup where junior Bobby Keating (Garden City, N.Y.) in 22nd (79-78-83 = 240) and freshman Zeke Shaffer (Radford, Va.) (79-79-85 = 243) in 27th.
While House garnered Patriot League MVP honors, Army's Plunkett was named the Patriot League Rookie of the Year as the highest finishing freshman and Lehigh's Henry D'Alberto was named the Patriot League Coach of the Year.