The Faces Have Changed but the Results Stay the Same for Men's Golf

The Red and Blue cap the year with a second-place finish at the Ivy League Championships and a pair of Quakers earn All-Ivy honors.

May 11, 2004

PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania men's golf team finished second in the Ancient Eight and had a pair of student-golfers honored as All-Ivy in 2004. Reading this, you would automatically think back to last season when Chad Perman and Endel Liias earned the honors and Penn finished 11 strokes back of Yale. Well, the honorees have changed but the Quakers continue to perform with precision and excellence, as the 2003-04 men's golf team was runner-up at the Ivy League championships and the Quakers put two of their own on the All-Ivy team.

This time the usual suspects weren't a pair of seniors but rather a sophomore and a transferred junior. Derek Rogers and Larry Nickell joined Perman and Liias as All-Ivy honorees, tying for seventh at the championship, held once again at the Metedeconk Golf Club in Jackson, N.J. on April 17-18.

Rogers, a sophomore from Houston, and Nickell, junior from Dallas, shot nearly identical scores in the opening round with Rogers shooting 80 and Nickell firing a 79. The pair made the Lone Star State proud as they closed out the championship in style; Rogers with a two-over 74 and Nickell, who originally transferred from Austin College out of Division III, with an even-par 72 on the final day to secure the All-Ivy tip of the hat.

Penn's second-place finish was just one of six top-10 finishes it had during the nine-event season spanning from September to April. Penn opened the fall season in the field of 13 at the Navy Fall Invitational (Sept. 13-14), finishing tied for 10th on the U.S. Naval Academy Golf Course in Annapolis, Md. Nickell showed a little of what was to come with a pair of one-over 73's to lead Penn and finish tied for 18th. It was the only tournament of 2003-04 in which all of Penn's participants shot below 80 in each round. Rogers fired an even-par 72 on the final day of competition to secure a top-25 finish.

Penn hosted the Big 5 Invitational at the Philadelphia Cricket Club on Oct. 18-19 and the Quakers finished sixth out of 12 teams as Rogers earned the first of his two top-10 finishes of the year, firing 77 and 75 for a 152 two-day total. This event also saw the emergence of freshman Patrick Cooper as a key contributor. Cooper shot a 76 and 78 for his third and fourth consecutive sub-80 rounds of his rookie campaign. The Everett, Wash. native made his collegiate debut with not one, but two rounds at even-par 72, finishing tied for 15th at the James Madison Invitational (Sept. 20-21).

Despite Cooper's fine play in Harrisonburg, Va., Rogers could not be outshined or out shot, as he fired an opening round 73, followed by an even-par 71 and finally a two-under 69.

The Red and Blue closed out the fall schedule and opened the spring slate on high notes, finishing fourth at the John MacDonald Classic (Oct. 27-28) and fifth at the Treasure Coast WTC Hero's Classic in Port St. Lucie, Fla (Mar. 13-14). Junior Jeff Riley claimed low score for the Quakers at the John MacDonald Classic as he carded a pair of 78's to tie for 10th. Yet another newcomer, Sean Barrett, busted into the spring sun with consecutive rounds of 74 to finish tied for third at the Hero's Classic. Barrett made his collegiate debut in the fall, finishing tied for 35th at the Navy tourney with a two-day total of 150 (75-75). He also shot the only other sub-70 round of the season, and the lowest score in relation to par for the Red and Blue, firing a three-under 69 in the second round of the Drew Upton Tiger Classic (Mar. 27-28) held in Westover, Md.

The Quakers headed back to Annapolis, Md. for the Navy Spring Invitational and improved one position as a team, finishing tied for ninth, Cooper took low-score honors for the Red and Blue with an opening round 75 followed by a four-over 76 on the second and final day.

Penn will lose three-time letterwinner Adam Squires who competed in three events and finished his senior season with an 82.5 per round average. But looking back on 2003-04, an underclassman was the low scorer for the Red and Blue in six events over the fall and spring schedule and a freshman and sophomore were the only two to break 70 in competition. The three-lowest per round averages belonged to sophomore Rogers (75.8), and freshmen Barrett (76.5) and Cooper (77.1).

"We have everyone returning, which is great. While the men's team did not reach their ultimate goal of winning the Ivy League championship. Having everyone return and the addition of some key freshmen, the men's team will look to get back into the winner's circle," commented Francis Vaughn, Director of Penn Golf.

What began as a possible rebuilding season turned into a youth movement towards success.

Written by Mat Kanan, associate director of athletic communications