October 2, 2009
A gorgeous, if gusty, fall day added just enough challenge to Kings Creek Country Club, as it hosted another Rehoboth Beach Fall Invitational for the University of Pennsylvania on September 28.
The United States Naval Academy men’s golf team (301-286-587) won overall honors against a strong contingent from the host Quakers, by only two strokes. Division III golfing powerhouse Wesley College of Dover finished in third place, six strokes back from their Division I competitors.
Penn freshman Colin St. Maxens, of Washington, D.C., took individual honors with an even par 71-71-142 for the one-day tournament.
This is the thirteenth intercollegiate event hosted at Kings Creek, and the second one hosted by the University of Pennsylvania. Except for an East Coast Athletic Conference event, the first college tournament held there, the other college tournaments at Kings Creek were all hosted by George Washington University.
The common thread among these tournaments, besides the location, has been the Allen family.
Penn’s golf coach, Scott Allen, moved to Penn’s head coaching position two years ago, after a long and successful run at GW. His parents, Ron and Sue, are longtime Kings Creek residents.
With that connection, the idea of holding a college golf tournament miles from any Division I University didn’t seem all that unusual.
On the other hand, the college coaches I’ve talked to about this tournament often comment about how different Kings Creek CC plays, compared to most of the courses on which the kids compete. It’s a tight, target-oriented layout, where bombing with a driver and wedging in from anywhere just doesn’t work.
When you combine narrow playing corridors with strong, gusting winds, even these long-hitting college players would face a stiff test—which is perhaps the best explanation for the fact that even par won this year’s fall event.
Jeff Smith of McDaniel College in Maryland shot the low round of the day, with a three-under par 68 in the first round. In the afternoon, however, he ballooned to an 84, and fell back to a tie for 21st place. Several golfers, including second place finisher Ian Thimble of Monmouth and third-place finisher Ben Hayes of the Naval Academy, shot 69s in the second round to offset their higher morning scores.
As usual, the Kings Creek membership came out to help, led by volunteer coordinators Ron and Sue Allen. Several helpers drove carts, lugging competitors between some of the longer stretches from green to tee, such as between the 15th hole and the par-3 16th. Others worked as spotters on the seventh and twelfth holes, two par-5s where an off-kilter drive can end up in big trouble.
This year’s volunteer contingent included Evelyn and Bob Vanderloo, Diane Clark, Eric Magnus, Carol Burn, Louise Pearce, Frank Derville, Suzie Shevock, Sally Horvath, Marybeth and Frank Merolla, Linda and Ed Broderick, Prabhat and Kisan Karapurkar, Terry Derville, Rob Weymouth, Bill Kennedy, Dave Pie, and Ron Ritthaler.
Scott Allen was very pleased with his team’s performance, and has plans for their continued success. “They’re treating me very well [at Penn],” he said. “I have a chance to build the team into a perennial favorite for the Ivy League Championship, and beyond that to being one of the premier teams on the East Coast.”
The weekend’s rains slowed up the greens a bit, but otherwise the course was in fine shape, considering the several inches that stopped only a few hours before the teams appeared for their practice round on Sunday. “[Course superintendent] Jim [Prucnal] and his people did a phenomenal job getting the place ready,” Allen said.
Here are the overall stats for this year’s tournament:
(1) U.S. Naval Academy 301 286 587; (2) University of Pennsylvania 300 289 589; (3) Wesley College 300 295 595. (4) St. Francis-Pennsylvania. 306 298 604; (5T) Navy B 308 297 605, and Mount St. Mary’s University 301 304 605; (7) Monmouth University 304 302 606; (8) Duquesne University 311 307 618; (9) Fairleigh Dickinson 317 305 622; (10) McDaniel College 302 327 629; (11) La Salle University 332 321 653; (12) Hofstra University 344 324 668; and (13) St. Francis College, New York 340 343 683.