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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Villanova takes its best shot over busy spring break

   As St. Patty’s Day dawns, there are just 89 days until the opening round of the 2013 U.S. Open tees off at the historic East Course at Merion Golf Club.

   It was a busy spring break for the Villanova golf team, three members of which are recent Haverford School standouts. We’ve managed to sneak a couple of mentions into online and print versions of the Daily Times, but it’s a worth a recap to put all of the events together.
   This past week, Villanova teed it up in the Pinehurst Intercollegiate played over the 6,382-yard, par-71 No. 6 Course at the Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina. The Wildcats finished 15th in a competitive field of 16 with a 936 total.
   The scoring was very high in the middle of the three rounds, which, this time of year, usually means the wind got up and the temperature went down.
   The Wildcats were tied for second with a solid opening-round 291 before falling back to a tie for 11th with a 338 total in the second round before a final-round 307 dropped them back to 15th.
   Villanova was led by senior co-captain Steve Skurla, who sandwiched outstanding rounds of 71 and 70 around a second-day 88 for a 229 total that left him in a tie for 31st.
   Senior Michael Kania, the two-time Haverford School All-Delco, followed up an opening-round 73 with rounds of 80 and 82 to finish in a tie for 54th at 235. Senior Derek Jones (75-85-77) was another four shots back of Kania in a tie for 70th at 239.
   Sophomore Ted Brennan, another Haverford School product who was the Golf Association of Philadelphia Junior Player of the Year in 2010, sandwiched rounds of 72 and 78 around a second-round 90 for a 240 total that left him in a tie for 74th. Rounding out the scoring for Villanova was junior Vince Boyle, the 2009 Catholic League champion while at Archbishop Ryan. Boyle followed up an opening-round 78 with a pair of 83s for a 244 total that left him in a tie for 84th.
   The third member of ’Nova’s Haverford School Connection, graduate student Cory Siegfried, competed as an individual and tied for 82nd with a 243 total.
   Led by individual winner Tyler Merkel, Ball St. captured the team title with rounds of 293, 310 and 282 for an 885 total, three shots better than Virginia Commonwealth. Merkel had rounds of 70, 73 and 71 for a 214 total that was one shot clear of VCU’s Adam Ball (73-73-69).
  In between tournaments, Villanova traveled to St. Simon’s Island, Ga. to take on NAIA foe The College of Coastal Georgia in a dual match at the Sea Island Golf Club.
   Kania paced the Wildcats with a sparkling 69, but they fell, 292-297, to their hosts, who are ranked 11th in the country in NAIA. Jones added a 73, Brennan posted a 76 and Skurla had a 79.
   Villanova also battled some tough conditions while finishing in sixth place at the Harmony Golf Preserve Invitational in Orlando, Fla. The Wildcats posted rounds of 305, 300 and 317 over the 7,208-yard, par-72 course for a 922 total.
   Villanova was led by Kania, who finished in a tie for 15th with rounds of 74,72 and 79 for a 225 total, and Skurla, who finished in a tie for 17th with an opening-round 74 followed by a pair of 76s for a 226 total.
   Jones (78-76-83) finished a tie for 26th at 237, Brennan (83-76-81) finished 29th at 240, Siegfried (81-81-81) finished in a tie for 33rd at 243 and Boyle (79-84-81) finished 35th at 244.
  Richard Donegan of Florida Atlantic claimed individual honors with rounds of 70, 71 and 754 for a 1-under 215 total.
  Marco Iten (70-74-72—216) and Anthony Bradley (74-69-74—217) finished second and third, respectively, while leading Austin Peay to the team title.
   Villanova will play the host when the Wildcat Invitational tees off at White Manor Country Club April 1 and 2.
Playing the host, Purdue finishes third
   The Purdue women’s golf team was the host for the Purdue Mount Vintage Invitational in North Augusta, Ga. last week and finished third.
   Purdue had rounds of 313, 298 and 302 for a 913 total that left the Boilermakers three shots back of team champion Coastal Carolina (306-294-310—910) and two shots behind runnerup Iowa St. (305-301-305—911).
   Sophomore Aurora Kan, the 2010 PIAA champion as a senior at Chichester, improved every day with rounds of 81, 78 and 76 for a 235 total that left her in 13th place.
   The Boilermakers were led by Laura Gonzalez-Escallon, a senior from Belgium who finished in a tie for second with rounds of 73, 76 and 74 for a 7-over 223 total. That left her four shots back of individual champion Casey Kennedy of Augusta St., who carded a 3-over 219 total with rounds of 74, 72 and 73.
   Paula Reto, a senior from South Africa, finished in a tie for fifth at 226 after rounds of 79, 73 and 74. Margaux Vanmol, a freshman who, like Gonzalez-Escallon, hails from Belgium, also had a solid showing, finishing 11th at 231 with rounds of 81, 72 and 78.
   Finishing a shot back of Kan at 236 in a tie for 14th was Kishi Sinha, a redshirt senior from India, after rounds of 80, 77 and 79.
   Freshman Brooke Beegle, competing as an individual, had rounds of 81, 89 and 85 to finish in a tie for 27th at 255.
   Also teeing it up at the Purdue Mount Vintage Invitational was Delaware, which finished fifth at 1,007 with rounds of 350, 333 and 324. Sophomore Amanda Terzian, a former Episcopal Academy standout, finished 19th in the individual race with rounds of 87, 78 and 77 for a 242 total.

Illinois struggles in Arizona
  Jackie Calamaro, the 2009 PIAA champion as a senior at Radnor, and her Illinois teammates had a few rough days at the Clover Cup, hosted last week by Notre Dame at at the Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, Ariz.
   Calamaro, a redshirt sophomore, had rounds of 81, 84 and 86 over the 6,209-yard, par-72 layout and finished in a tie for 92nd at 251 with, among others, teammate Michelle Mayer, who had rounds of 81, 86 and 84.
   Illinois posted rounds of 321, 321 and 324 and ended up last in the field of 16 at 966.
   The Illini were led by Samantha Postillion, like Calamaro a redshirt sophomore. Postillion had rounds of 80, 77 and 79 for a 236 total that left her in a tie for 66th. That was one shot better than teammate Crystal Smith (79-77-71), who finished in a tie for 68th at 237. Sophomore Pimploy Thirati finished 85th with rounds of 82, 83 and 80 for a 245 total.
   Oklahoma, led by individual runnerup Chirapat Jao-Javanill (212), took team honors with a 2-under 862 total. The No. 3 Sooners posted a blistering 7-under 281 in the opening round.
  Tulsa’s Kristina Merkle took the team total as her final-round 66 gave her a 6-under 210 total.
   A couple of familiar names – the two players Chichester’s Kan beat in a playoff for her 2010 PIAA crown – showed up on the leaderboard at the Clover Cup.
   Bangor’s Stani Schiavone, who started her collegiate career at Baylor, but transferred to Mississippi, finished alone in eighth place with rounds of 73, 71 and 72 for an even-par 216 total. West Chester East product Gabriella DiMarco, a sophomore at Kansas, had rounds of 82, 81 and 74 to finish in a tie for 68th at 237.
   Delco’s two female state champions, Calamaro and Kan, are in the field at this weekend’s Lady Jaguar Invitational as Kan and the 15th-ranked Boilermakers return to the Augusta, Ga. neighborhood (they have the first major professional men’s championship each year in that neighborhood, little get-together called The Masters Tournament) for the second straight weekend.
   The tournament concludes today and there will be a full report in next TMac Tees Off entry.

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