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Penn College Golfers Seek Return to Top


Over the past decade, Pennsylvania College of Technology golf teams have excelled on an almost unprecedented level, winning eight conference championships and putting together a win streak that reached 155 before being snapped.

Last season, the Wildcats fell off a bit, going 20-7 overall and finishing third in the Penn State University Athletic Conference and fourth in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association. But second-year coach Matt Haile is hopeful of a return to the top this season.

“I believe we have a stronger team this year than last.The guys returning have worked hard over the summer on their games and it shows in practice.We also have some first-year players that I think are going to be a great fit to our lineup,” Haile said, as his team prepares for its season opener Monday on its home course at the White Deer Golf Complex.

“I’d say we have a young squad,” Haile continued. “We have three seniors this year and the rest either freshman or sophomores.I expect the seniors to play well, since they have all seen the courses we will play this season.This will be a big disadvantage to freshman, but, if they play smart, they will do great.”

Assessing his key players, Haile said, “Eric Schall (Jersey Shore) will be a vital player to our team this year as a senior. I see him in the run for medalist each match we play. Dan Kramer (Avon, Conn.) is a returner and is looking really good in practice. He has matured and it’s apparent that he has worked hard on his game over the summer.Alex Howe (Lake Ariel) is a freshman and is going to be another great addition to our team.He has a great short game and plays smart around the greens.His only disadvantage as a freshman is the fact he will be seeing all of our courses we play for the first time.”

In its opener, Haile anticipates those three, plus Kurt Linhart (Zionsville), Dean Bell (Schwenksville) and Chad Vuocolo (Lock Haven) will start. Also on the roster are Joe Peters (Harrisburg), Tom Sonderegger Jr. (Harrisburg) and Hans Reisinger (Selinsgrove).

“We have had less than two weeks to get a roster and tryout, so it’s always hard to pick my starting six,” the coach said. “We have a couple practices left before our first match, but these are the guys who have proved they can play in the starting lineup. Nothing is set in stone and my players are aware of this.I want to start out with a win, so I will choose the best players I think that can score well at our season opener.”

“Our team strengths are not only in their talent, but in their character. I have a bunch of great guys who just love the game of golf.You need to have this mentality or your golf game can get ugly quick. We have fun every time we are on the course,” Haile continued.

“Our weakness will be course management. I have been working hard to teach the guys to put away the big sticks and keep it in play. The course yardage we play from does not require a driver off every tee. I keep telling them, keep it in play and the rest of their game will follow course.It’s mentally challenging to be in trouble off the tee all the time and put together a good score,” he added.

“The key to our success will be in each and every player. All of our guys have potential to shoot low scores, it’s just a matter of putting four of them together,” Haile said.

“I’m hoping we regain some of the ground we lost last year in our third-place finish in the PSUAC,” he concluded.

Penn College competes in the conference’s West Division with Penn State Fayette, Penn StateMont Alto,Penn StateNew Kensington, Penn StateGreater Allegheny, Penn StateDuBois and Penn StateShenango. Eastern Division teams include Penn StateLehigh, Penn StateWilkes-Barre, Penn StateSchuylkill, Penn StateHazleton, Penn StateAbington and Penn StateBrandywine. Penn StateMont Alto claimed last year’s championship.

SCHEDULE

August 30 host Penn College Invitational at White Deer Golf Complex, 11 a.m.

September 8 at Penn State Fayette Invitational, 8 a.m.; 13 at Penn State Mont Alto Invitational, 10:35 a.m.; 20 at Penn State Greater Allegheny Invitational, 10 a.m.; 27 at Penn State New Kensington Invitational, 11 a.m.

October 11-12 PSUAC/USCAA Championships at Penn State Blue Course

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