PHILADELPHIA - The Penn men’s golf team is heading to Galloway, N.J. this weekend to participate in the Ivy League Championships. However, “participate” may be too mild a goal for this Quaker team.
How about “win” instead?
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The Quakers will be one of several teams with an excellent chance to bring home the Ivy Championship team trophy Sunday afternoon, with a strong lineup that has been playing well most of the spring. During the season, every member of the travel squad has shown glimpses of excellence at different times. The key will be to get all of them on the same page this weekend on the par-72 Galloway National Golf Club.
The 54-hole tournament will begin Saturday, with a 7:30 a.m. start for first-round action and 12:30 p.m. for second-round play. Sunday’s play will begin at 7:30 a.m.
Penn has been led this season by senior Sean Barrett, a two-time All-Ivy golfer looking to make his mark in his final go-round at this event. Barrett was the Quakers’ top finisher last week at the Princeton Invitational, tying for sixth overall, and he leads the team with a 75.2 stroke average in 2006-07.
Three other golfers have been right behind Barrett all season, and again have shown glimpses of greatness. Junior Dean Merrill has a 75.9 stroke average this year, was Penn’s top finisher at the Navy Invitational two weeks ago, and has four rounds at 72 or better. Sophomore Michael Blodgett has a 76.0 stroke average, has been the Quakers’ top finisher at three tournaments this year, and has gone 72 or better five times. Finally, freshman Chance Pipitone has been wildly unpredictable from round to round, but he has a stroke average of 76.3 and has the only sub-70 rounds by a Penn player this year (a 69 at the Navy Fall Invitational, and a 66 at the George Washington Invitational a month ago).
Junior Nick Ryder rounds out the Penn contingent this weekend. Ryder, a former NESCAC Player of the Year at Williams College in 2004-05, has a 77.8 stroke average, a low round of 73, and tied Merrill as Penn’s top finisher at the Navy Spring Invitational earlier this month.