The Drexel golf team has officially started its season. The Dragons traveled last week to Olean, N.Y., to compete in the 25th annual Leo Keenan Invitational, hosted by St. Bonaventure University at Bartlett Country Club. Play opened Sept. 16 and continued through Sept. 17.
Drexel returns six golfers and adds two new freshmen to the roster for the 2013-14 season. The Dragons are led by veteran Ben Hinge, who is striving for a record-setting senior year. In his junior year, Hinge dropped his average score by more than four strokes. If he keeps this pace, there is no telling what the experienced senior may accomplish.
Another notable golfer on the team is sophomore Christopher Crawford, who led the Dragons with a team-low average of 74 strokes per round last season. It’s evident that Crawford’s age has nothing to do with his ability to compete. Crawford marked his outstanding freshman season by being named the Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Year. The rising star from Bensalem, Pa., also qualified for the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.
The two new additions to this year’s roster are freshmen Yoseph Dance and Brian Fischer. Dance, from Richmond, Va., won the Qatar Junior Open championship the past two years. Fischer is from Lansdale, Pa., and has won a total of three Philadelphia Junior Tour events. Look for these two newcomers to make an impact early in their Drexel careers.
On Sept. 16, the Dragons finally had the chance to display their talents out on the course at St. Bonaventure, which hosted a total of nine teams at the Leo Keenan Invitational. After the first day, however, it was clear that the Dragons were embarking on an uphill battle.
Robert Morris University led the event after day 1 with a team score of 287. Long Island University Brooklyn posted a team score of 292, while Humber College (294), Canisius College (295) and St. Bonaventure (298) rounded out the top five of the field. Drexel was in seventh place with a score of 304.
The second and final round was set to tee off at 9 a.m., but a frigid 36-degree fall morning put the round in a frost delay.
But that didn’t stop Crawford, who continued his strong play from round 1 and showed no sign of slowing down. He finished the invitational tied for 11th place overall with a recorded score of 74 on both days, only five strokes behind the winner of the tournament, Garrett Brown of Robert Morris University.
Dance carded a 76 on both days, scoring a 152 for the tournament in his first appearance as a Dragon to share a 22nd-place overall finish. As for the rest of the Blue and Gold, senior Vincent Anagnos placed 26th, while Alex Kane and Scott Forrester both tied for 31st.
All in all, the Dragons played well in the second round given the inclement weather. They posted a 304 on their scorecard for both days, which was impressive considering that only one team, the Bonnies of St. Bonaventure, actually improved upon their day 1 score. The Dragons scored a 608 overall, placing fifth in the tournament.
The Dragons return to action Sept. 21, when they will travel to Ithaca, N.Y., to compete in the Cornell Invitational. This tournament will consist of three rounds, with two on Saturday and one on Sunday. The tournament starts with tee-off at 8 a.m. Saturday and the second round immediately following. Look for the Dragons to build off the momentum from last week’s event as they confront yet another challenging layout at Robert Trent Jones Golf Course.