Greensburg’s Mark Goetz, WVU looking to make noise at Big 12 golf championship

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Friday, April 23, 2021 | 7:49 PM


The Big 12 golf championship begins Monday at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan., and West Virginia senior Mark Goetz is ready to roll.

The Greensburg native and Kiski School graduate is coming off his first collegiate victory and a career-low 65. Goetz won the Mountaineer Invitational at the Pete Dye Golf Course in Bridgeport, W.Va. He finished a school-record 12-under-par.

Goetz posted 16 birdies during his three rounds. He played bogey-free golf during his final 28 holes.

Conditions are expected to be breezy during the three-day event in Kansas, which shouldn’t affect Goetz, whose game has drastically improved since his freshman season, WVU coach Sean Covich said.

“When Mark first came here, he’d hit balls into the clouds no matter the conditions,” Covich said. “Now he’s learned how to hit low stingers, which will be important at Prairie Dunes. It’s a skill that he’s learned. I’m confident he’ll play well.”

Goetz has assumed the leadership role for the Mountaineers. He is their top golfer and one of the top college golfers in the country.

He credits playing in numerous tournaments this past summer. He also plays at Hannastown Golf, where some of the top amateurs in Western Pa. call home.

“I played in more quality tournaments,” Goetz said. “I’m playing with more confidence.”

Goetz tied for 11th in the 2020 Sunnehanna Amateur and won the West Penn Open in August before heading back to school.

“It’s been a weird and different season, especially in the fall,” Covich said. “It’s been better in the spring. I’ve seen steady improvement throughout the season. I’m eager to see how we do. We keep getting better.”

Goetz was the only starter returning from last year’s squad.

“Mark has shown the freshmen and new faces what it takes to be successful,” Covich said. “His performances have been impressive.”

Added Goetz: “The expectations are high. Nothing has really changed in my game. My ball striking remains the same. I’m just a more mature player.”

This is the first time Goetz will play at Prairie Dunes, a course his coach said is a good test with a lot of history.

“The challenge is the wind and greens,” Covich said. “It’s always windy there, and the pin possessions can be difficult. We’re going to practice different shots before we go under windy conditions.”

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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