The Drexel golf team is coming off an impressive second-place finish at the Cornell Invitational, highlighted by a thrilling performance by Christopher Crawford, who took first place individually. For his stellar play, Crawford was named Drexel’s Colonial Marble & Granite Athlete of the Week and the Colonial Athletic Association Co-Men’s Golfer of the Week.
The Dragons now head to the Lonnie Poole Golf Course in Raleigh, N.C., to compete in the Wolfpack Intercollegiate Oct. 6-8, which is hosted by North Carolina State University.
After a second-place finish at the Cornell Invitational, Drexel is looking to keep this momentum going into North Carolina.
“We hope confidence breeds [more] confidence. We are just going to continue with our goal of getting better every day,” head coach Mike Dynda said of the team’s upcoming event.
The Dragons have had almost two weeks off to prepare for this competition.
“The time off was great,” Dynda said. “The team got settled into their classes. We had some really good practice sessions and just enough of a break from competition to get hungry again.”
Look for some young up-and-comers to make a statement at this event. Freshman Scott Forrester has been playing very well as of late, shooting an impressive 76 in the second round of his last appearance. Also, freshman Yoseph Dance finished in 33rd place at the Cornell Invitational, which was only the second event of his Drexel career. These two freshmen have made lots of noise for the Dragons early in their careers.
Another notable golfer who had a solid outing at the Cornell Invitational was sophomore Alex Kane, finishing 42nd overall. After a slow start, Kane’s tournament was highlighted by a gusty shot on the second hole — what many called the toughest hole on the course — scoring him a dramatic 77 in the final round.
The Dragons will have some challenges ahead of them as they take on the demanding Lonnie Poole Golf Course.
“The main challenge any northern team faces when they head south is the grass; southern courses have Bermuda grass, while we have bent and rye grass,” Dynda explained. “Other than that, it’s all pretty much the same. The cup is still four and a quarter inches around.”
But the greens won’t be the team’s only challenge. The Lonnie Poole Golf Course has unique features that set it apart from other courses in the region, including traditional Scottish designs. The course is known for its hole-by-hole elevation changes and difficult bunkers that have irregular shapes and jagged edges.
Shots landing in the sand might even provide players with an easier recovery than the thick fescue that is awkwardly placed throughout the course. Shots in fescue often require a drop and a penalty stroke that the Dragons just can’t afford if they’re going to be in contention to win this event.
“Getting adjusted quickly to the course will be what we work on most during the practice round,” Dynda said.
It will be interesting to see how Drexel approaches this difficult golf course, and they will lean on their top performer, Crawford, as he eyes another first-place finish.