Wed. Jan 26th, 2022

West Chester University’s men’s golf team ended the first half of their season in second place overall in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC), after earning second at the 2010 PSAC Men’s Golf Championship in October. The Rams’ efforts have also earned them a prestigious ranking of fifth, overall, in the Atlantic region, which is composed of over forty teams.Seven of the PSAC’s 16 members competed in the weekend long tournament at Hershey Golf Links Course in Hummelstown, PA. The Golden Rams earned second place to the defending champions, playing on the 72 par, 6,911 yard course. Powerhouse squad IUP enjoyed a decisive victory over WCU, marking their fourth consecutive PSAC Men’s Golf Championship; WCU shot 612 while IUP shot 592.

“We fought hard,” senior Doug Brooks said of his teams highest PSAC Championship placing in over forty years, aside from their first and only PSAC title won in 2006.

“Day one [of the tournament] was grueling, with 40 mph winds. we fought through a tough day, and were excited to get out there a second day. We didn’t play as well as we would have liked, and waited with anxiety, we knew it would be close,” Brooks said of his tournament experience and subsequent wait for the final results.

WCU’s vigilance paid off, however, as they managed to beat third place contender Clarion 612-613, to become runner-up of the tournament, and seal a ranking of second place overall in the PSAC conference.

The team’s success can be attributed to a collaboration of a new head coach and competitive performances by teammates Griffith Basehore, freshman recruit Connor Lafever, Brooks, Tyler Canfield, and Steve Minnick.

“Picking up Connor was good for the team,” Brooks said. Lafever, who has earned the title of Men’s Golf Athlete of the Week twice this season on PSAC’s official website, has also had the most top individual finishes of any player on the team this season.

Basehore, another star on the team, managed an individual ranking of second overall in the PSAC Championship.

On the second day of the tournament, the Golden Rams managed to improve their score by 10 strokes. Basehore played consistently, able to shoot an even par 72 on Saturday and only two strokes over on Sunday with a score of 74. IUP’s Sean Sweithelm shaved 10 strokes off of his day one total of 79, shooting a weekend-low 69 Sunday, stealing the individual first place title from WCU’s Basehore by only one stroke. Basehore’s outstanding performance still earned his second ASAC honors in two years. Other teammates put up competitive numbers as well; Brooks tied for 12th overall with a 153; Lefever was 14th overall with a 155; Canfield tied for 22nd with a 163; Minnick shot a 166 total to place 26th overall.

The men’s golf team, according to senior Michael Flatley has struggled in the past. Recent revisions to the roster and staff have yielded positive results.

Head coach Harry Hammond started his job in 2007, and the team has done increasingly well since.

“He straightened us out. He’s good for the team, he keeps everyone’s head on their shoulders,” Brooks said.

“He’s scary, but he means well,” Flatley said with a laugh.

West Chester’s team elevated their level of competitiveness this season, beating every team in the PSAC conference at least once, marking the first time this has happened since Harry Hammond assumed the role of head coach. This fall the Golden Rams played in six tournaments, finishing second place in three of them. WCU’s team has established itself as a competitive golf squad, ending the semester ranked second in the conference (out of 17 teams), and fifth in the Atlantic Region.

Martthew Boyd is a practicum student. He can be reached at MB6634884@wcupa.edu.

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