Season Preview: Men's Golf Hopes to Go Low

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - page 2

A week spent playing some of the nicest courses in sunny Myrtle Beach might sound like a relaxing way to spend Spring Break. But for the Muhlenberg men’s golf team, the trip south was about much more than just having a good time and enjoying the weather.

Zack Meyers
Meyers tied for fifth overall at both the Penn State Harrisburg and Muhlenberg Invitationals in the fall.
The Mules used the trip to focus on fine-tuning their games and prepping for the spring season. And if the scores they shot in South Carolina also made the return trip to Allentown, senior Jon Heppen believes the team will be more than ready to go low when it begins the spring schedule tomorrow afternoon at the Dickinson Spring Invitational.

Heppen said thanks to the new swing simulator installed in the Life Sports Center, the Mules were much closer to in-season form than they have been in the past.

But he added that the simulator has its limits. They can’t practice sand shots or hit out of deep rough. The wind also does not play as much of a factor as in real life, and putting is not the same. That’s why Heppen said it was so important to get plenty of time on the course during Spring Break.

“We got a lot of good playing experience and played some great courses in Myrtle Beach,” Heppen said. “I think we played really well. We weren’t 100 percent there yet because you can’t hit every shot on the simulator, but compared to past years we were ahead of where we usually are. I definitely think that’s going to be an advantage.”

Heppen, along with classmates Matthew Cohen and Zack Meyers form the nucleus of a squad that features a good balance of experience and talent.

Cohen returns to the team after studying abroad in the fall. He posted a 79.1 scoring average last spring, one of three Mules to average sub-80, and finished in the top 10 at the Lehigh Valley Cup. Meyers, meanwhile, posted five straight sub-80 rounds in the fall and led the team at each of their final four tournaments.

Junior Brandon Davis also returns from studying abroad. He broke 80 in five of his eight rounds last season, including low rounds of 71 and 72.

Finally, the sophomore Chrises, Chris DiMaio and Christopher Lucarelli, have shown the potential to shoot low numbers. They both finished in the top 10 at the Moravian Fall Invitational where Lucarelli tied for third with a 76 and DiMaio tied for 10th after carding a 78.

But while the talent and ability is there, Heppen said the key to this season, as it always is on the golf course, is consistency.

Last year, the Mules led after the first day of the Centennial Conference Championships before finishing third for the third straight season. So if the senior class wants to reach the goal that has eluded it thus far, Heppen said he and his teammates will need to be strong not only with their drives and putts, but with their mental approach as well.

“We are really committed to winning the conference this year,” he said. “We feel like we’ve been really close every year, and as a senior class, we definitely want to end our careers with the championship.

“We need to learn from the past and realize if we have a bad hole we just need to put it behind us and move on. We’ve got a really good group, and we’re playing pretty good right now. We’re really focused this year and can’t wait to get started.”