April 19, 2012
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Navy golf team will be back in action this weekend when it plays host to the 33rd edition of the Navy Spring Invitational on Saturday and Sunday at the par-71 Naval Academy Golf Course in Annapolis.
Three squads will represent Navy -- Blue, Gold and White -- in the 19-team tournament, along with Bucknell, Colgate, Columbia, George Washington, Georgetown, Iona, Lafayette, La Salle, Lehigh, Long Island, Mount St. Mary's, Penn, Saint Francis (N.Y.), Saint Joseph's, Siena and Villanova.
The tournament also provides a bit of a sneak peek at the Patriot League Golf Championship which will be held in Lewisburg at the Bucknell University Golf Club in two weeks (April 28-29). Five of the seven teams competing for the 2012 conference title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Golf Regionals will be participating in the Navy Spring Invitational, while both Army and Holy Cross are taking off this weekend off from competition.
In the 32 years the Navy Spring Invitational has been played, 18 different schools have claimed the team title. There have been 11 different winners in the last 15 years with Navy taking the team title in 2003, `06, `08 and `10 and Johnson & Wales (Fla.) claimed crowns in 2004 and `09 as the lone multiple winners over that stretch. There are only two previous winners among this year's field -- Navy and Georgetown, who won the tournament in 2001 with a 25-over par 593.
"I think this will be a very competitive spring invitational, with many strong programs from the Northeast slated to play," said Navy head coach Pat Owen. "The golf course is in excellent condition and will present a challenge, particularly on the greens."
A year ago, 2011 Navy team captain Ben Hayes (Carmichael, Calif.) claimed medalist honors at the Navy Spring Golf Invitational, as he led the Mids to a fourth-place team finish. Meanwhile, TCU became the 18th different school to claim the Navy Spring Invitational title after shooting par in the final round to break free of its opening-round tie with Columbia. The Horned Frogs finished the tournament 18-over (586), while Columbia took second with a 29-over par 597 and Lafayette held off the Mids in third with a 42-over par 610.
The Midshipmen have participated in five events this spring, opening the second half of the season with an 11th-place finish at the Charleston Shootout with senior Collier Jones (Little Rock, Ark.) leading the way with his 31st-place 9-over par 225. Two weeks later, Navy sent split squads to the General Hackler Championship in Georgetown, S.C. and to the Bash at the Beach in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Sophomore Drew Selby (Charlotte, N.C.) anchored the Mids' 14th-place effort at the General Hackler Championship with a 20-over par 233 to place 55th, while 2011 Patriot League Rookie of the Year David Hall (Huntersville, N.C.)l paved the way for Navy at the Bash at the Beach with a 12-over par showing.
Senior Peter Reilly (Merrimack, N.H.), meanwhile, scored Patriot League Golfer of the Month kudos following his fourth-place finish at the Fireline Towson Invitational in which he finished 2-under. He helped lead the Mids to a third-place tie at the event. And a week ago, team captain Tim Shield (Grosse Pointe Park, Mich.) guided the Mids to a 15th-place finish at the Wolfpack Spring Open thanks to his 10-over par 154.
"I am excited about Navy's prospects, as we field three teams and three individuals," added Owen. "This will be the last home event for seniors Tim Shield, Collier Jones, Tyler Kuhn, Matt Buss and Peter Reilly, all of whom have enjoyed a great deal of success in their careers. Everyone on the team has worked hard toward their goals this spring, and we hope to carry that process right into the tournament."
Heading into the weekend, Reilly stands atop Navy's leader board with a 75.2 stroke average among the 23 rounds of action he has seen this season. Meanwhile, Hall owns a 75.6 stroke average, followed by rookie August Jonas (Jacksonville, Fla.) (76.2) who won the Mids' home event in the fall. Shield and Selby are deadlocked with a 76.7 stroke average.
While the event will get underway at 8:30 am, the Navy gold team will tee off at 9:15 am on hole one, while the Navy white squad also tees off at 9:15 am from the back nine. Navy's blue squad is set to tee off at 10:05 from the front nine.
### Go Navy ###