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Penn College Golf Team Seeks Conference, National Championships

With wins in three of its four regular-season outings this fall, and a second-place finish in the other, the Pennsylvania College of Technology golf team is poised to regain the supremacy it had when it captured six straight conference championships from 2003 through 2008.

“It really has been an outstanding season of play by our guys considering the kind of golf weather the courses have endured in our area and the weather conditions they had to play in thus far,” third-year coach Matt Haile said as his team prepared for the Penn State University Athletic Conference and United States Collegiate Athletic Association championships Monday and Tuesday.

In addition to the three team wins, three Wildcat golfers medaled during those invitationals: freshman Corey Teeple, of Lake Ariel, with a 74; and sophomores Dan Kramer, of Avon, Conn., with a 79, and Alex Howe, of Lake Ariel, with a 77.

“It’s always great to pick up a freshman player and have him excel like Corey has. He has been a big help in our success this year. Dan and Alex have also been key returners to our lineup and it’s very satisfying as a coach to see their golf games progress in the years they’ve been on the team,” Haile said.

Also representing the college will be seniors Kurt Linhart, of Zionsville; Joe Peters, of Harrisburg; and Nick Krupka, of Allentown.

Championship competition will be held on the par-72, 6,686-yard Penn State Blue Course, with action starting at 9 a.m. both days. A practice round is scheduled for Sunday.

“The par-3s often play tough and there are some tough par-4s that require precise tee shots,” Haile said. “Our practice round should help with getting yardages down and getting comfortable with the course. Most everyone in our lineup has played the course numerous times either in high school competition or while competing at Penn College.

“Looking at some of the other scores in the PSUAC, it’s really going to be close between Penn State Mont Alto and Penn State Hazleton from the East Division for the PSUAC title. Strokewise, our team scores are pretty close when you take everything into consideration, and I have a lot of confidence that our veteran players are going to play well,” the coach continued. “For Kurt, Joe and Dan, this will be their final college career match so I hope they finish off their careers on a good note and play to their abilities.

“This will be a great opportunity to play two good rounds of golf in weather that is forecast to be the best we have had all season, and for the last couple years at our championships at Penn State,” Haile said.

“The key will be just playing good golf and the rest of it should fall into place. I have worked hard over the last few seasons on teaching them to leave the bad shots behind them and take each shot one at a time,” the coach said. “It’s important to have confidence in each and every shot and keep the big numbers to a minimum. When you get in trouble, you need to just get the ball back in play instead of trying to hit a shot that is against all odds.”

“I tell them before every match to just have fun and enjoy themselves. As an avid golfer myself, one thing I have learned over the years: You can never get too anxious and you need to just have fun. This is sometimes easier said than done, especially if you are in the hunt for things, but just keeping that in your mind helps you to relax. So much can go wrong in the game of golf in such a short period of time so it’s important to be able to have this mind-set. No one likes to lose, and we all strive to win, but it’s the players who can keep their head in the game who will come out on top,” Haile added.

Last year, the Wildcats placed second in the PSUAC and fifth in the USCAA. In 2009, Penn College was third in the PSUAC and fourth in the USCAA.

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