PHILADELPHIA - It has been a bountiful fall so far for the University of Pennsylvania men's golf team, and this Saturday and Sunday the Quakers face what could be their stiffest challenge of the young season with the annual Big Five Classic. This year's 36-hole event will take place at Philmont CC's North Course in Huntingdon Valley, Pa. The course will play at par-70 with a length of 6,670 yards for the weekend.
The 19-team field will not only include all of the Division I universities from the Philadelphia region (Drexel, La Salle, Saint Joseph's, Temple and Villanova in addition to the Quakers) but also seven of the eight Ivy League institutions (all but Harvard). The other teams in the field are Binghamton, Connecticut, Fordham, Hartford, Navy, Sacred Heart, and Seton Hall.
Penn will go with a lineup that has seen success so far this fall -- senior captain P.J. Fielding, junior Max Marsico, sophomores Ben Cooley and Austin Powell, and freshman P.J. Collier. This group has led the way the last two tournaments, where Penn won the Rehoboth Beach Fall Invitational and then took second later that week at the CHAMPS/Patriot Intercollegiate. The Quakers are attempting to retain the Big 5 trophy that they won last year (they tied for fourth in the 22-team field, but had the low scorer among the city schools).
"The Big Five Classic trophy is currently resting in my office, and I'd very much like to keep it there!" said first-year head coach Bob Heintz, who noted that in addition to the city schools the field will also include seven of the eight Ivy League institutions.
"As a team, our expectations are to continue playing tough golf and fight for every shot," he continued. "Scoring expectations are difficult to make because of several factors: Philmont is a fairly narrow course with tricky greens, making it a tough test in anything short of ideal weather. In addition, we are coming off a bye week of sorts with no tournament play, and the team members are battling through some mid-term stress in the classroom. However, our optimism is high -- all my time with golf psychologists is shining through, as I prefer optimism vs. expectation of results. I continue to stress to the team that they are good enough to break par on their good days and stay very close to par on the bad days. We're looking forward to a fun, intense weekend of golf."