The Nebraska men’s golf team captured the season-opening Fairway Club Invitational title and added eight additional top-10 finishes in 2012-13 as freshman Kolton Lapa and junior Matt Record emerged as leaders for the team.
Lapa was the lone Husker to compete in every tournament in Head Coach Bill Spangler’s 12th season at the helm, averaging 74.27 strokes per round over 33 rounds. Lapa led NU in five of its 11 stroke play events in 2012-13, earning two Big Ten Golfer-of-the-Week awards in the process.
Fellow Arizona native and newcomer Record led the team in four stroke play events and added a perfect 3-0-0 mark at the Big Ten Match Play in February. Record played in every tournament except for the D.A. Weibring Intercollegiate, averaging 74.73 strokes over 30 rounds.
Junior Manuel Lavin and senior Jordan Reinertson each appeared in nine rounds, while sophomore Ross Dickson and senior Neil Dufford each made seven appearances. Senior Kevin Gillick added six starts for the Huskers, including a tie for first at the Fairway Club Invitational.
NU compiled a 297.52 stroke average in 2012-13, often playing its best golf in the second round. The Huskers’ second-round scoring average was 294.91, while the first and third rounds were 301.73 and 295.50, respectively.
The Huskers hosted the Fairway Club Invitational to start the season and won their second consecutive title at ArborLinks Golf Course. Nebraska shot 899 as a team to edge second-place Illinois State by one stroke. Freshman Aaron Wong, making his Husker debut, took the 36-hole lead by one shot after firing a second-round 4-under-par 68. He tied for seventh but Gillick led the Huskers with a tie for first, shooting 219. Dickson, playing as an individual, added a tie for ninth at 224.
The following weekend, the Huskers traveled to Normal, Ill., for the D.A. Weibring Intercollegiate and notched their second consecutive top-10 finish, tying for seventh. NU improved each round after an opening 318, its highest 18-hole score of the season. The Huskers shot 303 in the second round before posting 291 in the final round. Dickson carded back-to-back 1-under-par 70s in the last two rounds to achieve his best finish of the season, a tie for third.
As the month shifted to October, Nebraska headed to the Firestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio. The tournament was shortened due to frost and the Huskers finished 13th with 605 strokes. Lapa turned in the best performance, tying for 22nd with 148 over 36 holes.
The Huskers bounced back two weeks later at the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate to finish seventh. NU broke 290 in all three rounds (287-285-289). Lapa fired a 2-under-par 69 in the second round, which led to a tie for seventh. His 211 total set a school record for lowest 54-hole score by a freshman, and he garnered Big Ten Golfer-of-the-Week honors for the performance. Record added a tie for 28th and Dickson tied for 30th at NMSU Golf Course.
Lapa and Record tied for eighth four days later at the Price’s Give ‘Em Five Invitational at Butterfield Golf Club in El Paso, Texas. The pair each shot 215 over 54 holes to lead the Huskers to a fourth-place finish in the final tournament of the fall season. Nebraska broke 300 in all three rounds for an 871 total. Dufford tied for 20th with 219 strokes.
The Huskers opened the spring season at the Big Ten Match Play at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla., in February. Nebraska, the No. 11 seed, fell in its first match against No. 6 Purdue, 3-2-0, getting victories from Dickson and Record. In the second match, which was against No. 12 seed Wisconsin, Nebraska won the tiebreaker following a 2-2-1 tie. Lapa halved the opening match, while Record and Gillick posted victories over the Badgers. Record and Gillick each won their matches against No. 8 seed Minnesota but the Huskers fell, 3-2-0.
Lapa earned his third consecutive top-10 finish in a stroke play event two weeks later at the Wyoming Desert Intercollegiate in Palm Desert, Calif. Following back-to-back 73s, Lapa fired a 3-under-par 69 in the final round en route to a 215 total that put him in a tie for fifth. The finish, which was Lapa’s best of the season, led to his second Big Ten Golfer-of-the-Week award during 2012-13. Nebraska finished eighth in the 17-team field with an 895 total at the Classic Club.
The Huskers journeyed to Aiken, S.C., to open March at the Cleveland Golf Palmetto Intercollegiate. After opening with 305, NU posted 294 and 296 in the second and third rounds for an 895 total that led to a 10th-place finish. Record turned in a tie-for-32nd, while Lapa tied for 42nd and Lavin tied for 45th at Palmetto Golf Club.
Over spring break, Nebraska competed at the Denver Desert Shootout at the Palm Valley Golf Course in Goodyear, Ariz. The Huskers fired their best 18-hole score of the season in the second round with 282. NU added bookend scores of 285 and 292 for its best 54-hole score of the 2012-13 campaign, 859, which led to a sixth-place result. Record tied for 10th with 212 strokes, while Dufford earned his best finish of the season with a tie for 16th. Lapa also tied for 16th, shooting 214 over 54 holes.
Nebraska visited Jonesboro, Ark., for the start of April at the ASU Red Wolf Intercollegiate. The Huskers failed to break 300 in any round, posting 920 at RidgePointe Country Club. Lavin led the team with a tie for 39th, compiling 225 strokes.
The Huskers returned to the Midwest for the Hawkeye Invitational in Iowa City, Iowa, and finished fifth. NU opened with 290 and followed with 297 and 300 over the last two rounds to shoot 887. Record notched his third top-10 performance of the season with a ninth-place result. Lavin tied for 18th with 22 strokes, which marked his best finish of the season. Reinertson tied for 21st at Finkbine Golf Course.
The Huskers’ season ended two weeks later at the Big Ten Championships at the Pete Dye Golf Course in French Lick, Ind. Lapa tied for 22nd to lead NU and Record added a 32nd-place finish. Nebraska finished ninth, compiling 1,214 strokes over 72 holes and achieving its best score in the second round, 297. Reinertson tied for 37th, Lavin tied for 52nd and Dufford finished 56th.