Men’s Golf Kicks Off Annual Army-Navy Star Series Saturday in Annapolis
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — After earning a 6-5 victory over Army West Point last October at the West Point Golf Course, the Navy men’s golf team will look to win back-to-back Star Matches for the first time since 2010 and ‘11 when it plays host to the Black Knights Saturday and Sunday in the 80th edition of the Army-Navy Star Match. The two-day, 36-hole event will be scored as match play, or the more familiar Ryder Cup-style format, with four 4-ball matches played on Saturday (8:15 am) and seven singles matches played on Sunday (8:15 am). The first team to reach six points will be declared the winner.
This weekend’s golf match marks the first among 24 Army-Navy Star competitions played over the course of the academic year that determine the winner of the Army-Navy Star Series presented by USAA. The annual showdown between the two rivals in each sport is deemed the Star Game with the athletes from the winning team receiving a Star for their letter sweaters. For those sports who face Army multiple times in a season, the Star Game is designated prior to the start of the year.
Navy leads the all-time series against Army, 1046-791-411 (.568), including a 400-252-8 (.612) mark over the last 21 years. Meanwhile, the Mids own a 299-159-8 (.650) advantage in the Star Series over the last 21 years.
Navy’s golf team enters this weekend’s competition with a 44-34-1 advantage over the Black Knights in the annual dual which was first played in 1939 at Sherwood Forest. Among the 77 previously-played duals, 52 have utilized the familiar Ryder Cup format, including each of the last 15 (8 wins by Navy, 7 by Army).
Navy holds a 26-13 advantage in Star Matches played in Annapolis, however, Army has won three of the last four played at the Naval Academy Golf Course. The Mids’ last win over their archrival in Annapolis came on Oct. 1-2, 2011, when Navy won five of the seven singles matches to secure a 7-4 victory.
In his 28th season leading the Mids, head coach Pat Owen is relying upon the experience of his players to help pave the way to victory this weekend. Among the eight players that competed in last year’s Army-Navy match, five appear on this year’s roster, including senior team captain Thomas Fricke (Haymarket, Va.). Fricke, who will be playing in his fourth Star Match, played a pivotal role in the Mids’ victory over Army a year ago. Down 3 with 6 to go, Fricke birdied 13 with a 35-foot putt, won the 14th with a par and then birdied the 16th with a 20-foot putt to pull even. Army’s Justin Pagila birdied 17 to go back to 1-up. On 18, both Fricke and Pagila had birdie putts inside of four feet. Fricke rolled his in for birdie, while Pagila missed his, giving Fricke a crucial half point. That half point meant then-senior Devin Terry only needed to halve his match against Matt Plunkett to lead Navy to victory which is exactly what happened.
In addition to Fricke, juniors Paul Mauer (Eagleville, Pa.), Griffin Peters (Fountain Hills, Ariz.) and Mathew Starobin (Davidsonville, Md.) have played in previous Army-Navy matches, as has sophomore Thomas Garbee (Asheville, N.C.), who paired up with 2017 team captain Connor Tallman to take their doubles match, 2&1, over Peter Kim and Nick Turner a year ago.
Meanwhile, first-year Army head coach Chad Bagley will have five of the eight golfers who represented the Black Knights a year ago return to the lineup, while Dean Sakata also returns after missing the 2016 fall season.
### Go Navy ###