GALLOWAY, N.J. - The only bad thing that happened to Penn during Sunday's final round of the Ivy League Men's Golf Championships came on the final hole of the final pairing, when Columbia's Chris Condello sank a lengthy putt that gave him a one-shot victory over the Quakers' Chance Pipitone for medalist honors.
As it turned out, it would not have mattered how many putts Pipitone needed to drain his putt on 18. The Quakers were already celebrating the team title at that point.
Thanks to solid rounds by, in order, Nick Ryder, Michael Blodgett, Sean Barrett and Dean Merrill, Penn rolled to just its second Ivy League title -- the other came in 1998 -- Sunday at Galloway (N.J.) National Golf Club. The Quakers shot 301, low among the eight Ivy schools on the day, to defeat second-place Brown by 10 strokes overall. Penn's final tally was 300-303-301--904, while the Bears finished 306-303-305--914.
"This is the culmination of hard work, lots of determination, and a camaraderie among these five guys who worked hard to accomplish this," said head coach Rob Powelson. "These guys came out today with a lot of pride -- in their school, in this program, and in each other. They stepped up when they had to and made this championship a reality."
Columbia, which entered the day five strokes up on the Quakers and with whom the Penn players were paired, struggledfrom the start Sundayand finished third at 299-299-323--921. Yale was fourth (307-312-308--927), while Harvard was fifth (310-304-317--931).
Princeton and Dartmouth tied for sixth place, scoring 934 apiece, while Cornell was eighth at 948.
Ryder got the day started for the Quakers, putting together his best round of the Championships with a 76 (he went 78-84 Saturday). Blodgett did him two better, going 74 which was his best round of the event (he went 78-76 Saturday).
"Nick and Mike really got things started for us, and took a lot of pressure off of the other guys," said Powelson. "Nick's 76 set the tone, and really gave everyone else the feeling that we could do this. We have stressed the importance of all five guys all year, and this weekend was a perfect example of that."
Barrett was next into the clubhouse for Penn, shooting a 78, and then Merrill officially iced the team title when he putted out for 76.
While Powelson and the four finishers congratulated each other along the 18th fairway, Pipitone was trying to become Penn's first individual champion. Saturday's leader, Greg Shuman from Harvard, was already in the clubhouse with a 78 and had in fact been passed by Brown's Larry Haertel.
Condello held a one-shot lead over Pipitone as the two stepped up to the 18th tee, and it looked like Pipitone might get a chance to force a playoff when Condello's second shot found a bunker in front of the green. However, the Columbia junior knocked his bunker shot to within 10 feet, then sank a clutch putt while Pipitone two-putted to finish his round with a 75.
Nevertheless, Pipitone (t-2nd/73-73-75--221) and Merrill (t-7th/74-75-76--225) earned All-Ivy for their play this weekend. Blodgett was Penn's third finisher and tied for 10th overall at 78-76-74--228, while Barrett finished 75-79-78--232 and tied for 15th. Ryder was 78-84-76--238 and tied for 24th.