West Chester University’s men’s golf team will be playing host to the third annual Dr. Edwin B. Cottrell Invitational at Penn Oaks Golf Course on April 1-2. The team will try to rebound from a frustrating performance at the St. James Invitational played at the Founders Club in South Carolina, where they finished 10th of 16 teams.
Head coach Harry Hammond was disappointed with the team’s overall performance, but recognized factors that could have led to their anguish.
“The team did not play well at all and I had one player become dehydrated on the course, which definitely influenced his score the first day,” Hammond said.
One bright spot for the team was the performance of Austin Mann, of Collegeville, Pa., who finished 11th on the overall individual board. In the two rounds, Mann hit a 148 on the par-72 course.
Still, the team realizes they must play better and they are certainly happy to be playing this upcoming tournament close to home.
“The team travel time to most of our tournaments is a minimum of five hours each way,” Hammond said. “Balancing the travel, tournament play and the time away from classes is difficult. To be at home for a weekend is special for them and will allow most of the parents to come and watch their sons play.”
Aside from the luxury of being home, the team believes they will benefit from knowing the course.
“Playing this weekend on our home course should be an advantage for the team,” Hammond said. “The players have spent considerable time working on their short game, which Penn Oaks course demands.”
Since returning from the St. James Invitational, the team has spent nearly every day at the Penn Oaks course and coach Hammond has held two 18-hole qualifying rounds to establish which five golfers he will use on the team this weekend. The others will have the chance to gain experience by playing individually.
Despite the recent struggles on the road, Hammond is happy with the team’s overall progress and will continue to encourage them.
“For the most part, I am pleased. They qualified for the NCAA regional tournament in 2011 and I expect them to again qualify for this year’s NCAA regional being held in Hershey, Pa.,” Hammond said. “I have told them that I believe they are good enough to finish as one of the top five teams at regionals and be invited to the NCAA national tournament. They have the talent to do this.”
The Dr. Edwin B. Cottrell Invitational at Penn Oaks Golf Course tournament began on Sunday, April 1 at 1 p.m. and picked up again on Monday at 9 a.m.
Justin Park is a third-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at JP727721@wcupa.edu