It might be a little surprising to see the Penn State men’s golf team ranked 22nd in the country by Golfweek going into last weekend’s Seminole Intercollegiate, hosted by Florida State at Southwood Golf Course in Tallahassee, Fla.
But Greg Nye’s squad certainly validated its lofty ranking with an 8-under-par performance that gave the Nittany Lions a share of fourth place in the team standings.
With threatening weather in the forecast for Sunday, the guys shrugged and played two Saturday, making the test a little more physical.
Penn State was led by Charles Huntzinger, a freshman from Duluth, Ga. who was under par all three rounds, following up a 1-under 71 with a pair of 2-under 70s in Saturday’s double round over the 7,172-yard, par-72 Southwood layout. Huntzinger’s 5-under 211 total left him in a tie for fourth in the individual standings.
After opening with an even-par 288 Friday, Penn State put together a pair of 4-under 284 rounds Saturday to finish at 8-under 856 and share fourth place with East Tennessee State.
Auburn, ranked fourth, captured the team crown with rounds of 290, a blistering 11-under 277 in the middle round and 283 for a 14-under 850 total. That was two shots better than the host Seminoles, ranked sixth, who had rounds of 285, 281 and 286 for a 12-under 852 total.
James Madison had the best team score of the final round, a 6-under 282, to grab third place at 10-under 854.
Among the other players entered in the team race for Penn State, Cole Miller, a sophomore from New Tripoli, Pa., finished tied for 13th at 2-under 214, JD Dornes, a senior who was a perennial contender for PIAA honors at Manheim Township, finished tied for 25th at even-par 216, Geoff Vertelas, a senior from Cromwell, Conn., finished tied for 35th at 2-over 218, and Christian Elliott, a junior from Canada, finished tied for 60th at 10-over 226.
Chris Houston, a senior from Gilford, N.H., competed as an individual and his second 1-under 71 of the weekend enabled him to finish tied for 30th at 1-over 217. So Nye clearly has some depth to work with.
Also appearing on the Penn State roster is JD Dornes’ younger brother Ryan, a freshman who, like JD, was a perennial contender at the PIAA Tournament during his scholastic career at Manheim Township.
While the Seminoles had to settle for a runnerup finish in their event, they did account for the individual champion as Hank Lebioda, a senior from Winter Springs, Fla., fired a final-round 68 to finish at 8-under 208. Lebioda had to be good to edge East Tennessee State’s Adrian Meronk, a senior from Poland, by a shot. Meronk finished strong as well, posting a 3-under 69.
Reigning Ivy League champion Penn also got its spring campaign started at the Seminole, the Quakers finishing ninth with rounds of 295, 297 and 299 for an 891 total.
The Quakers were led by sophomore Carter Thompson. If Thompson seemed to be right at home in finishing tied for 25th at even-par 216 following a final round of 2-under 70, it’s because he was at home. The Florida State transfer is from Tallahassee.