October 1, 2004

Golfers Gear Up For Bonnies' Invite

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Following its solid fourth-place finish at the Cornell Invitational Tournament last weekend, the golf team will head to St. Bonaventure to take part in the 16th Leo Keenan Collegiate Golf Invitational this upcoming Sunday and Monday. The tournament will be played at the Bartlett Country Club in Olean, and features fifteen schools including Cornell. The 14 squads that the Red will be competing against are Canisius, Colgate, Drexel, Duquesne, Long Island, Mount Saint Mary’s, Niagara, Ottawa, Rider, Robert Morris, Seton Hall, Siena and Youngstown State. Last year, the hometown Bonnies won the competition in addition to their first place finish in 2001.

The Red will be taking six of its top golfers on the trip, with the exception of senior Kevin Scelfo, who will not be attending due to prior commitments. Senior Billy Grover heads a squad made up of juniors Andy Sliwa and Andrew Turker, sophomore Greg Peterson, and freshmen Chad Bernstein and Robbie Fritz. This will be the first tournament Scelfo has missed since joining the team.

The Bartlett course is a relatively straightforward one — it boasts few tricks — yet the par for the course is 70, a bit lower than the Red’s average score of 75.

“The team definitely needs to shoot somewhere around 73 or 74. An average of about two-over-par per player would get us the win,” Scelfo said.

The forecast for this weekend calls for thunderstorms tomorrow, which could mean the course will be slightly soggy. There is also a chance of showers on Monday, which could add to the difficulty of the course — making it even more important for the Red to stick to the fundamentals of golf. However, Grover believes this particular Red team will have an advantage over some of its opponents.

“We have alot of guys who are from coastal areas where there’s alot of rain, so we have more guys who are used to playing in the rain,” he said. “You need to be able to really focus to succeed in the rain, and we have alot of guys who are practiced at that.”

This year, the squad has seen a dramatic improvement over its 2003 campaign, starting off the season by coming in second at the Colgate Invitational Tournament. The team has been infused with a powerful contingent of younger talent, with players like Bernstein and Fritz challenging some of the more established players for spots on the traveling squad. Fritz finished third overall at the Cornell Invitational last weekend, shooting 217 over three rounds with a low score of 70 in the first round. Scelfo said he feels that Fritz has a chance for another stellar performance on the Bartlett course this weekend.

“Robbie hits the ball really straight and he does well around the greens,” Scelfo said. “That’s perfect for this course because it’s very wide and the greens are very small.”

Fritz himself believes that this weekend the Red has an excellent shot to claim the top spot for the first time this season.

“Of the teams in the field this weekend that we have played so far, we’ve beaten them all — with the exception of Rider who won our tournament last weekend,” he said. “So far we’ve played good golf and we’re happy with our play. But, we haven’t won and it would really be good to finally get a win. If we take a step backwards we aren’t going to be happy, and the only step forward is to win.”

Archived article by Jacob Lieberman
Sun Contributor