Penn State Men¡¯s Golf Primed for Big Ten Championships
STATE COLLEGE, Pa., April 30, 2003 ¨C The Penn State men¡¯s golf team will travel to Indiana University later this week to compete in the 2003 Big Ten Championships at the par-71 Indiana University Golf Course. The 72-hole tournament will feature all 11 Big Ten schools, with each team entering five athletes. The best four scores from each round will be counted toward the total team score.
The first of four rounds is scheduled to begin on Friday at 9:00 a.m. EST, with the second round set to follow the completion of the first. The third round will tee off at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, and the final round will commence on Sunday at 9:00 a.m.
Penn State is coming off an impressive performance at last weekend¡¯s 27th Annual Rutherford Intercollegiate at the Penn State Blue Course. The Nittany Lions shot a tournament-record 12-under-par 852 to claim the title for the 12th-consecutive year. Penn State shattered the previous record of 859, which it set last year, and has now broken the tournament record five-straight years.
The Nittany Lions have been led all season by senior standout Jim Fuller (Muskogee, Okla.). At the Rutherford Intercollegiate, he shot a team-best nine-under 207 to earn second-place honors. Fuller now has a first-place, two second-place, and two seventh-place finishes to his credit this season. At the James Madison Invitational in the fall, the veteran posted a school-record 197 over 54 holes to win the title, destroying the old mark of 202. He is leading the team with an average of 70.92 strokes in his 26 rounds.
Second on the team in scoring is Greg Pieczynski (Kingston, Pa.), with a 72.46 average in his 26 rounds. The sophomore has a second-place and two fourth-place finishes on his resume, with a low round of six-under at the Georgetown Hoya Invitational, in which he finished second at eight-under over the 36 holes. Fellow sophomore Mark Leon (Brampton, Ontario) is close behind in scoring, averaging 73.30 strokes over 23 rounds. In the fall, he took third at the James Madison Invitational and fourth at the Hoya Invitational. He has been battling a back injury of late and is questionable for the Big Ten Championships.
Rounding out the usual starting five are junior Ted Neville (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and sophomore Andrew Price (Mission Viejo, Calif.). Neville has been on top of his game recently and is coming off his best performance of the year at the Rutherford Intercollegiate, where he shot a three-under 213 to tie for fifth place. His scoring average has improved to 73.77 strokes per round as a result of his solid play. Price finished in a tie for 27th at the Rutherford with a four-over 220. He is currently averaging 75.65 strokes per 18 holes.
If Leon is unable to compete, sophomore Jonas Hyden (Saltsjobaden, Sweden) or senior Jason Totin (Delaware, Ohio) will likely fill his spot in the starting five. Totin has played only six rounds all season, but he got the nod at the Rutherford and finished with a 228 to tie for 55th. Hyden competed well as an individual at the Rutherford, finishing in a tie for 15th with a one-over 217. Like Totin, he has seen limited action this year, competing in eight rounds.
The Nittany Lions will look to improve upon last year¡¯s 10th-place finish at the Big Ten Championships as they battle to earn an invitation to the NCAA Tournament.