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Muhlenberg College

Friday, April 23, 2010

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Championship Preview
Nothing puzzling about keys for men’s golf

Riddle the Muhlenberg men’s golf team this: Take the Mules’ combined score from the first two rounds at the Centennial Conference Championships two years ago (609), combine it with their final round score from last year (308), and what do you get?

Answer: Tied for the lowest 54-hole score ever at the event.

Biff Slocum
Slocum tied with Oyer for 10th individually at the CC Championships in 2008 and finished tied for 12th last year.
Though the event will change this year from three 18-hole rounds to two 27-hole rounds, one doesn’t need a brainteaser to figure out what Muhlenberg sees as the key to winning the title this year following second- and third-place finishes in 2008 and 2009, respectively.

“We need to perform consistently as a team and all play well on the same day,” said senior Biff Slocum. “It’s the biggest mystery in team golf, but we all need to be playing well at the same time.”

That team will include three Mules who played in the event last year. Slocum and juniors Zachary Oyer and Jordan Carpenter are the three repeats, who combined with two others to shoot a 308 in the final round last season, tied for the lowest round of the tournament.

Sophomores Zack Meyers and Matthew Cohen will fill out the squad that appears to be playing its best golf at the right time. Slocum shot shot his best round of the year, a 77, on Tuesday, and Oyer, Cohen and Meyers have also shot multiple rounds at or below their season averages in recent weeks.

“We didn’t play well out of the gate, but our games are starting to peak,” he noted. “It’s rare that that happens at the right time, but it’s encouraging when it does.”

Also encouraging was the Mules’ performance at the Ursinus Invitational two weeks ago, which was played on the same course the CC Championships will be played on. There they finished fourth out of 13, though all three teams that finished ahead of them were CC schools.

“From past experience it definitely helps to have played on a course before,” said Slocum. “On any course there are little bits of knowledge to be had and used. The majority of the time it helps off the tee and on the greens.”

On the greens is where Muhlenberg has been preparing most for the tournament, focusing on its short game as well as its mental toughness.

“When you’re nervous you can lose shots in the short game, or it’s where you can make up shots on the field,” commented Slocum. “Coach has stressed the importance of short putts and chip shots. And we’ve been working on staying focused through all 18 holes.”

Weather will also likely play an important role in the outcome of the event, as the forecast calls for temperature in the mid-to-low 60s and rain on Saturday night going into Sunday.

But despite potential weather problems and the change in the structure of the tournament, the Mules know exactly what they need to do to win their first championship since 2004. And there’s nothing riddling about that.
Click here for the championship web site.

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