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April 21, 2011

Men's Golf Championship Preview

Men's Golf Championship page

Golfstat Live Scoring

PRINCETON, N.J. -- The Ivy League men's golf teams are set to meet on April 22, at the at the Galloway National Golf Club in Galloway, N.J., for the first round of play in the 2011 Ivy League Men's Golf Championship. In addition to being crowned the 2011 Ivy League Champion, the winning team will receive the League's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship field and, if the individual medalist comes from a separate team, he would also advance to the NCAA Championship field. Both the team and individual title races are sure to be tightly-contested matters.

Play begins at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, April 22 and fans can follow all the action through Golfstat's live scoring, which can be accessed by clicking on the link above.

At the team level, Columbia is looking for its fourth title in a row, a feat that would put the Lions on a short list. Only the Princeton Tigers have won four consecutive Ivy League championships (1979-1982), so Columbia would be just the second team to accomplish the feat.

Seven of the eight Ivy League teams recently met at the 2011 Princeton Invitational, which came to an end on April 10 at the at the Springdale Golf Club in Princeton, N.J. Serving almost as a preview event, Yale finished six strokes ahead of Penn to take the tournament, with the Bulldogs shooting a four-under par 848 and the Quakers carding a two-over par 854.

In current Golfstat rankings (April 13, 2011), Yale is the top overall ranked Ivy team, but when just looking at head-to-head records, Penn and Princeton lead the Ivies, followed by Yale and Colombia. Combining the close rankings with the fact that 2011 marks the third time since 2007 that the event is being contested at Galloway National Golf Club - meaning many of the coaches and a handful of players are quite familiar with the course – and 2011 has all the makings of what promises to be a dramatic event.

The battle for individual medalist honors and first team All-Ivy recognition is shaping up to be just as fierce. The top-five finishers at the tournament will earn first team All-Ivy status, while the next five will be named to the All-Ivy second team.

Any discussion concerning possible favorites for 2011 medalist honors starts with last season's final two competitors - Penn's Scott Williams and Columbia's Clark Granum. Williams downed Granum on the first playoff hole to claim 2010 medalist honors and advanced to the NCAA East Regional as a sophomore. Building on that experience, Williams could be in the mix to become the fifth two-time Ivy champion and just the fourth to do it in back-to-back years.

Granum, who fired a final round 67 to force last season's playoff, is looking to finish what he came so close to a season ago. He, like several other notable seniors in the field, has the added benefit of having played in the 2008 Ivy League Men's Golf Championship at Galloway, at which he finished fourth.

Like Williams, Dartmouth senior Peter Williamson is also vying to become the fifth two-time champion in League history, having won the 2009 individual title. Williamson's win that year came at nearby Atlantic City Country Club, where the women are set to contest the 2011 Ivy League Championship and where he shot a three-round 211 total that was backboned by first and second round 69's. If Williams or Williamson were able to pull off a win in 2011, they would become the first repeat winner at the championship since 1994 when Princeton's Steve Dana won the second of his back-to-back titles.

Other golfers who enter the 2011 Championship with the familiarity and comfort of having competed at Galloway in 2008 include Yale's Thomas McCarthy, Columbia's Justin Lee, Princeton's Evan Harmeling and Cornell's Matt Jaye. The quartet of decorated upperclassmen also figure to be amongst the favorites in 2011 based on their familiarity with the course and their current form. McCarthy finished ninth in 2008 after shooting three consecutive 76's (228), while Lee finished 14th (75-78-78--231), Harmeling t-15th (74-77-81--232) and Jaye 18th (78-77-78--233).

McCarthy enters the 2011 Championship as the conference's top-ranked golfer according to Golfstat (on April 13, 2011), followed closely by Williamson and Harmeling. McCarthy also placed second at the 2011 Princeton Invitational, while Williamson finished third and Harmeling tied for fourth.

But again, the 2011 field is deep and talented so picking a favorite is a complicated task.

Other highly ranked players entering the 2011 Championship include Max Marsico of Penn and Sam Bernstein of Yale. At the recently completed Princeton Invitational, Bernstein, who is a freshman with the Bulldogs, fired a five-under par 208 to take medalist honors, aided by a pair of 68's shot in the opening and closing rounds. Marsico has seen time at the No. 1 position this season for the Quakers and fired a seven-under par 64 in the final round of play at the Princeton Invitational, which was the lowest round of the tournament by five strokes.

The same weekend as the Princeton Invitational, Brown finished 10th at the New England Division I Championship in Middletown, R.I., led by freshman Peter Callas' second-day 76.