Golf Preview: Garnet Aim High in 2010
SWARTHMORE, Pa. - Under the direction of head coach Jim Heller, now in his fifth year, the 2010 Swarthmore golf team looks to build upon the experience gained last year while competing in the highly competitive Centennial Conference.
After having back-to-back school record finishes in the Conference Championships in 2006 and 2007, the Garnet struggled as a team in 2008 and 2009, placing fifth in its most recent Conference-wide contest in April 2009.
Despite the recent team struggles of 2008 and 2009, the Garnet squad has set several individual milestones in the last two seasons. At last year's season-ending Centennial Conference Championships, co-captain David Lau '09 carded a consistent three-round total of 236 (77-77-82), strong enough for a tie for sixth in the season-ending event. Alex Nichamin '12 (Brookville, PA/Brookville) finished his final round with a blistering two over par 74, culminating in a come-from-behind tied for third place finish (83-77-74-234 +18), earning him All Conference honors for the 2009 season.
Nichamin, along with teammate Paul Weston '12 (Waterbury, VT/Harwood Union) - who had a team-leading six top-five finishes in 2009 - hope to extend their individual success to the 2010 spring season. The dynamic pair will be joined by captain and individual school-record holder Jeff Lazarus '10 (Woodcliff Lake, N.J./Pascack Hills), who returns after a year studying at the University of Oxford. Lazarus, along with fellow seniors Andrew Hoot (Aston, PA/Sun Valley) and Kelly Schoomeester '10 (Irmo, SC/Irmo) plan to return the Garnet back to the success of 2007. Hoot has improved dramatically since joining the team three years ago, while Schoolmeester played a critical role on last year's team, consistently scoring in the low to mid 80s.
The Garnet squad will be looking for its young talent, which inlcudes freshmen Jake Carter '13 (New York, NY/Dalton School), Craig Pentrack '13 (Pittsburgh, PA/Shady Side Academy) and Kyle Krainock '13 (Pauma Valley, CA/Valley Center), to make an immediate and significant contribution to the 2010 team. Other contributors include Alex Leichter '12 (Wayland Hills, MA/Wayland), who competed in several team events throughout the 2009 season, and William Campbell '12 (Santa Barbara, CA/Dos Pueblos).
The 2010 squad has already had a strong team performance this year, placing third in a thirteen-team field at the Garnet-hosted event, the inaugural Swarthmore Fall Golf Invitational, held at the Rock Manor Golf Course (Wilmington, DE). All five players for Swarthmore scored in the 80s, a consistentperformance on a challenging tree-lined track. Freshman Craig Pentrack '13 led the team with a nine-over 80, strong enough for a top ten individual performance in a field of more than fifty competitors. The Garnet's performance was especially impressive considering the field included several Division I institutions, including LaSalle and Penn.
Swat will begin the spring season with a week-long training camp at the famed Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, N.C., site of the Ryder Cup, PGA Tour Championship, U.S. Open, and, most recently, the 2009 U.S. Amateur.
Upon returning to campus, the Garnet begins competitive play at the 2010 Wilmington College Invitational held at Frog Hollow Golf Club (Middletown, D.E.) on March 13. The Swarthmore team has several 36 and 18-hole competitions slated for 2010, including several events at the Garnet's home course, Rolling Green Golf Club (Springfield, PA).
The season culminates at the 2010 Centennial Conference Championships hosted by Ursinus College at Stonewall Golf Club (Ellwood City, PA). The team champion will gain an automatic bid to the 2010 NCAA Division III National Championships at Hershey Links (Hershey, PA).