PHILADELPHIA - The Penn men's golf team has enjoyed a sustained period of success under current head coach Scott Allen, and this year was no different. In fact, it may have been the Quakers' best year overall since Allen took over in 2008.
Need proof? Well, Penn won the Ivy League Championships team title for the first time under Allen, doing so in dramatic fashion. Down by 16 strokes and in fourth place heading into the final day, the team made up all of those strokes and forced a playoff with Dartmouth. Using the NCAA's unique playoff system, with all 10 players from the teams playing the hole together, the Quakers and Big Green tied after one hole; tied AGAIN after two holes; then finally settled matters when Penn's low four scores bested Dartmouth's low four on the third playoff hole.
That gave Penn the Ivy title, its third (the other came in 1998 and 2007), and earned the Red and Blue and NCAA Regional berth. The team was sent to Bowling Green, Ky., for the South Central Regional, and the team held its No. 13 seed by finishing in 13th place.
Along the way to those heady events, there were two other team tournament championships -- the Quakers teed off the spring portion of their season by rolling to first place in the 12-team George Washington Invitational, and in the last tournament before Ivies they took first out of 20 teams at the Navy Spring Invitational. In both of those events, sophomore Max Marsico was individual medalist -- a feat he also accomplished in the season-opening Maryland Intercollegiate in September.
Freshman Austin Powell also collected an individual medalist honor, at Penn's Quaker Invitational that was played April 2 at Trump National Philadelphia in Pine Hill, N.J. He shot 76-71--147 on a blustery day to help Penn finish second out of 15 teams. Yet another medalist win came from sophomore Marco Fortades at the Quakers' fall event, the Rehoboth Beach Fall Invitational. Playing in the field as an individual, he carded a 3-under par 68-71--139 that won the whole thing.
As a team, Penn finished third out of nine teams at Rehoboth Beach Fall -- even without Fortades' winning score to help the cause -- and tied for fourth place out of 22 teams at the Big 5 Invitational (earning the Big 5 title, though, as low team among the Big 5 schools).
P.J. Fielding and Scotty Williams led the way for Penn at the Ivy League Championships; Fielding finished the tournament in fourth place overall, while Williams was fifth. That gave both players first-team All-Ivy honors, and in Williams' case it made him the first Penn player to earn All-Ivy all four years he was on campus. Another player, junior Colin St. Maxens, nearly missed out on All-Ivy honors, finishing tied for 11th in the Ivy field.
Marsico then led the Quakers at the NCAA Regional, shooting 76-74-75--225 and tying for 39th overall. After the season was over, he received All-Northeast Region honors from the Golf Coaches Association of America. Powell was the fifth member of Penn's lineup at Ivies and NCAAs.
Marsico led the team much of the season; he had a team-low 73.4 stroke average in playing 25 of the team's 27 tournament rounds, and he was the Quakers' low scorer in seven of the 10 tournaments he finished. Williams also played 25 rounds and was second with a 74.3 stroke average, while Fielding was close behind (74.8 stroke average in 24 rounds). In his first year of college golf, Powell had a 75.8 stroke average in 23 rounds, while St. Maxens was the only Penn golfer to play all 27 rounds (he had a 76.0 stroke average).
Coach Allen recently sat down with the Penn Sports Network to recap the 2011-12 year; you can see his recap at the top of this page, by clicking on the team photo.