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Penn State graduate will compete in BMW Pro-Am beginning Thursday
"I am thrilled to be coming back to State College and rejoining the golf team as a coach," said Leon. "Being a student-athlete at Penn State provided me with great memories, and friends that I will cherish for lifetime. To have the opportunity to come back and share in those experiences with a new generation of Penn State golfers is an opportunity that I am very much looking forward to."
Leon, a member of the Nittany Lion golf team from 2001-05, earned All-Big Ten honors in 2005, 2004 GCAA All-American recognition and All-Region selection in 2003, '04 and '05. He is fifth on Penn State's career scoring leaders list with a 73.79 average in the 134 rounds he played on the squad.
As a junior, Leon led the team to a great finish in the 2004 NCAA Championships. He posted a three-round, one-under par total of 279 (69-69-70-71) to tie for sixth, the best all-time finish in Penn State history.
Leon's younger brother Matt followed him to Penn State where he secured a spot on the golf team, graduating in 2008.
Leon also enjoyed success after Penn State, bringing acclaim to his alma mater again when he made it to the quarterfinals of the 2005 U.S. Amateur Championship. Leon earned a spot for the quarterfinals by winning his regional qualifier in Altoona. In 2006, Leon played on the Canadian National Team. He was a medalist in the 2006 Canadian Amateur and made match play in the U.S. Amateur for the second consecutive year. He went on to qualify for the Canadian Tour, of which he was a member of from 2007-10.
"Since I graduated in 2005 a lot has changed with our program, particularly with regard to the facilities," said Leon. "Coach Nye and Coach (Jon) Dunlap really ushered in a new look for Penn State men's golf, and it is reflected in the success of the team in the past six years. The Blue Course, team practice area and Tombros Varsity Clubhouse have given our team a world-class facility to hone its skills and compete on a national level. Despite everything being so new and so different, it's still like coming home for me. Like all proud alumni, I love this University and I will do my best to represent it as a coach."
"We welcome Mark back with the program after his year playing on the professional Canadian Tour," said Coach Nye. "He was one of Penn State's most accomplished players, and will bring his enormous competitive spirit to our team. He is well connected in the game, and has teaching and coaching in his blood."
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