September 19, 2008
This year’s edition of the George Washington College Invitational Golf Tournament had the same winner as last year, but with a different squad.
Scott Allen, the new head coach of the men’s golf team for the University of Pennsylvania, oversaw the Quakers’ four-stroke victory over host George Washington University at Kings Creek Country Club on September 15. GW happens to be Allen’s alma mater, and also where he was the head golf coach for over a dozen years. The Colonials won the two-round, 36-hole one-day tournament last fall.
At the Ivy League school’s web site, Allen didn’t hold back in evaluating his team’s performance, coming as it did immediately after they played in a weekend tournament hosted by the U.S. Naval Academy:
“I was very proud of the guys today,” said Allen. “We had two freshmen in the lineup playing their first collegiate event, one playing his second, and three guys playing their third day of competitive golf out of the last four. They had every excuse to be tired or inexperienced, and they all hung in there. This experience of taking a first-round lead and holding it will come in handy if and when we are in the hunt at the Ivy Championships this spring.”
Ron and Sue Allen of Kings Creek are Scott’s parents, and are the main reason why the Cape Region can hold a college golf tournament without having a nearby college ready to host the event. They were also appreciative of the efforts of 24 Kings Creek volunteers who helped run the tournament, assisting Kings Creek’s head golf pro, Kevin Wiest.
The volunteers help move the players in golf carts between some of the longer stretches between the greens and the tees, and find other ways to make the tournament run smoothly.
“It’s a great event for the area,” Wiest said. “At my last club, we hosted the NCAA finals, so I have a lot of experience with college tournaments.”
Once again, Kings Creek’s design reminded the young players that just gripping and ripping it isn’t always the best approach to scoring.
“They had more trouble than I thought they would,” Wiest said. “The course held up well against them.”
Penn senior Michael Blodgett won medalist honors, shooting a 1-under par 70-69-139 for first place, six strokes ahead of Cole Turner of GW.
As for why Kings Creek proved to be so difficult, Wiest had a few suggested explanations. “The wind came up. Then there’s the tightness of the layout. You really have to think your way around this course. Most of these kids aren’t used to that—they just bomb away, which leads to trouble,” he said.
Wiest wasn’t surprised at Penn’s performance, given the past experience of their head coach. “Scott told me that he sat his kids down before the match and told them ‘This is how you have to play this course.”
Looks like they took Allen’s advice.
Wiest also said that being able to see these golfers compete was a good experience for the Kings Creek members. “They don’t often see that caliber of player here, and they were impressed. One member told me, ‘I didn’t know you could play that hole that way’.”
In addition to Blodgett, the other Quakers also played well. Freshman Scott Williams tied for sixth, shooting 151 for an 11-over total score. Penn freshman Dillon Hakes finished one stroke back, with senior Brett Rendina one stroke behind Hakes. Freshman Ben Cohen also competed for the Quakers, finishing with 161 strokes for the day.
Here’s how the ten competing teams finished: U. of Pennsylvania, 299-296 (595); GW, 306-293 (599); Brown University, 304-309 (613); George Washington B 308-307 (615); Lafayette College, 299-328 (627); Wesley College 325-304 (629); St. Peter’s College, 319-313 (632); La Salle University, 320-317 (637); Fordham University, 326-317 (643) and St. Francis College-NY, 348-351 (699).