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Friday, April 29, 2011 - page 3

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Championship Preview
Men’s golf looking to get back on top
at friendly confines

There's an old saying that familiarity breeds contempt. The Muhlenberg men's golf team, however, is hoping that familiarity will breed success at this weekend's Centennial Conference Championships.

Playing on a course where they finished second in the Ursinus Invitational less than two weeks ago, the Mules will try to to snap their streak of three straight top-three finishes at the conference tournament by winning their first CC crown in seven years.
Zachary Oyer
Oyer leads the Mules, and ranks fourth in the CC, with a 77.8 stroke average.

"The more you play a course the more comfortable you become and you start to understand where the best places are to hit the ball and, most importantly, where the best places are to miss," senior Jordan Carpenter said. "Some courses just match up better for some players' games and Stonewall seems to fit well for us.

"Stonewall is pretty challenging and one of the better venues we play. With long rough and fescue it is important to keep the ball in the fairway to give yourself opportunities to hit greens, and we've been able to do that."

Carpenter and classmate Zachary Oyer enter the weekend boasting ample championship experience.

Oyer finished in the top 10 in each of his first three seasons, including a tie for fourth place last year. Carpenter, meanwhile, posted back-to-back 18th-place finishes at the CC tournament. They each also finished in the top 10 after shooting rounds in the 70s during the Ursinus Invitational.
Chris DiMaio
DiMaio finished tied for eighth during the Ursinus Invitational at Stonewall.

Joining them at the championship will be juniors Zack Meyers and Matthew Cohen, who both finished in the top 25 last season, and freshman Chris DiMaio. DiMaio and Cohen shot 80 and 81, respectively, during their last competitive rounds at Stonewall.

But that was a one-round tournament. The CC Championship is a two-day competition, featuring 27 holes on each day. And the last time the Mules played a multiple-day tournament they got out to a fast start, leading after day one of the Glenmaura National Collegiate Invitational, before slipping to ninth after the final round.

But Carpenter, who did not compete at that tournament, said that result shows just how much a long tournament can test a players' psyche as much as his skill. This time around, he added, Muhlenberg will be much better prepared.

"We really just need to be mentally tough," Carpenter said. "Playing 27 holes each day, about 8 straight hours of competition, becomes very strenuous. So it will be very important for us to make sure we keep our minds on the round and commit to every shot. And if we can do, that I think we will do pretty well."

Muhlenberg has had plenty of success against CC competition this season. At the Ursinus Invitational, the Mules beat Swarthmore, Dickinson, Gettysburg, McDaniel and Ursinus by at least 16 strokes each. Then during the final tuneup before the championship, Muhlenberg bested Dickinson, Gettysburg and Ursinus at the Messiah Falcon Classic.

But the Green Terror and two-time defending champion Franklin & Marshall have beaten Muhlenberg multiple times this spring. Those two teams finished first and second the past two years and have claimed the last six CC titles.

The last team not named McDaniel or Franklin & Marshall to win the crown? Muhlenberg in 2004.

And after finishing third each of the past two seasons, Carpenter said the Mules are primed for a return to top, which would tie them with the Green Terror for the most CC team titles (five).

"We have been working hard all season, and the conference championship is the tournament we all look forward to," Carpenter said. "The guys on our team are all peaking right now and playing some great golf."
Click here for the championship website.

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