Spring Season Begins for Nittany Lion Men's Golf Team
Feb. 4, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - The Penn State men's golf team will kick-start the second half of its collegiate golf season next weekend with the first annual Big Ten Match Play. The Nittany Lions' last team appearance resulted in a first place finish at the Lehigh Invitational in late Oct. The team looks to continue that success throughout the spring season.
Heading into the 2009 spring season, the Lions rank No. 8 in the Big Ten and No. 56 in the nation according to Golfweek. Junior Kevin Foley (Sommerville, N.J.) leads the Lions ranked at No. 24 in the nation and No. 4 in the Big Ten. Foley tallied the best fall 2008 average for the Lions with a 71.35. Foley finished in the top-10 of individual rankings at four team-tournaments with a first place finish at the Lehigh Invitational, with scores of 70-70 (140).
"The loss of Robert Rohanna and Harvin Groft from our line-up was noticeable, but we had two new guys in Tommy McDonagh (Wilton, Conn.) and Nick Archambault (St. Jean-sur-Richelieu, Canada) who stepped in and showed real promise," said head coach Nye. "I think this team will get stronger as the year plays out. Foley was really solid last fall and continues to improve, I think he will stay at the top of our conference and move forward nationally as well."
The 2008 fall season brings promise to the Nittany Lions with outstanding performances by freshman standout Archambault who had an average of 74.50, with a career beset fifth place finish at the Lehigh Invitational with rounds of 76-77 (153). Junior T.J. Howe (Osceola, Pa.) finished the fall season with a 74.79 average with a 26th place finish at the Brickyard Collegiate Champhionship with rounds of 78-69-72 (219). Howe's second round, 69 tied his Lion career best score. Sophomore McDonagh had the second best average for the Nittany Lions with a 74. McDonagh recorded an eighth place finish at Penn State's Rutherford Intercollegiate finishing with 71-77-73 (221).
For the first event of the spring season the Nittany Lions will head to the Heron Bay Golf Club in Coral Springs, Fla. for the first annual Big Ten Match Play, taking place Feb 13-14. Heron Bay is the former site of the PGA Tour-Honda Classic.
"This is an exciting new event that will bring great exposure to Big Ten golf. We will be hosting the only conference sponsored match play event of the year, and early planning has it showcased on our Big Ten Network," according to head coach Nye.
With about a month off, the Lions will then head into March and travel to Pinehurst, NC to play the world famous No. 8 Course at Pinehurst. The Lions have played well at previous Pinehurst Intercollegiate tournaments placing third in 2007 and 2008.
After another month of practice, the men's golf team will travel to Columbus, Ohio for the Kepler Intercollegiate and West Lafayette, Ind. for the Boilermaker Invitational. Last year Penn State placed sixth at the Kepler among a 14-team field. Penn State will compete on familiar ground as Ohio State's Scarlet Course was the site of the 2008 NCAA Central Regional and Purdue's Kampen course was site of the 2008 NCAA championships.
For the first time since 1996 Penn State, with its newly lengthened Blue Course, will host the 2009 Big Ten Championships.
"We feel the Blue will provide for a strong test of golf for the championships. The added length of 700 yards, and a few new well-placed hazards has toughened the Blue since we last hosted. Of course we will bring the rough up, and speed up the greens," said head coach Nye.
The NCAA Regional championships will be played May 14-16. The NCAA Finals will be held in Toledo, Ohio May 27-30. Beginning this season, the NCAA championships will begin with 54 holes of stroke play to narrow the field to eight teams. Those eight teams will continue in match play format until a national champion is crowned.