LANCASTER, PA - The Franklin & Marshall College men's golf team leads the Centennial Conference in team average in the latest CC rankings with an average of 318 strokes per round.
F&M, which leads Gettysburg College (318.5) by half a stroke, experienced a breakout performance last week as Ben Madonia (So., Clinton, NY/Clinton) shaved three strokes off his first round score of 80 to shoot a 77 and lead the Franklin & Marshall College to a runner-up finish at the 2004 NCAA District II Mid-Atlantic Invitational hosted by the University of Rochester at Hershey Country Club.
The finish marks the best ever by an F&M team at the District II Mid-Atlantic Invitational and puts the men's golf team into position to vie for a berth to the NCAA Championship field for the first time since the team qualified from 1984 until 1987.
Leading the charge at Hershey was Madonia who finished with a two day score of 157 to tie with teammates Carson Crooms (Fr., St. Petersburg, FL/Canterbury) and Dan Eggertsson (Jr., Royal Palm Beach, FL/Suncoast) for the best team score.
Crooms, who shot 77 on the first day of the tournament, carded an 80 on day two, while Eggertsson improved on his first round score of 79 by finishing the final 18 holes in 78 strokes.
Kevin Philipow (Jr., Sudbury, Ontario/Region 18) rounded out the top four scores with a two-day total of 158 (77-81), while Matt Dietz (Fr., Simsbury, CT/Simsbury) shot 175 (85-90) to conclude F&M's competitors.
The tournament runner-up finish sets up an exciting conclusion to the season for F&M as the Diplomats are now one of four teams in contention for two spots in the NCAA Championship field from the Mid-Atlantic Region. Allegheny, which captured the tournament title with a two day total of 621, is a near lock to make the NCAA field, while Wesley, Franklin & Marshall, Rochester and Gettysburg will vie for the final two spots.
If the Diplomats earn a spot, it will mark the second NCAA berth in a year for F&M head coach Glenn Robinson who guided the men's basketball team to the NCAA Elite Eight earlier this year.
Overall, Philipow ranks fifth in the Conference in individual average at 79.25, while Nick Leigh (Sr., Innisfil, Ontario) ranks seventh (79.91), Madonia ninth (80.06) and Eggertsson 10th (80.17) as the Diplomats are the only CC team to place four golfers in the top 10 in the Conference.
Franklin & Marshall will continue the season on April 17-18 at the Kings College Invitational before returning home to Bent Creek Country Club to host the annual F&M Spring Men's Golf Invitational on April 19.
Centennial Conference Men's Golf Team Averages
1. Franklin & Marshall College 318.0
2. Gettysburg 318.5
3. Muhlenberg 321.0
4. McDaniel 324.5
5. Swarthmore 334.2
6. Ursinus 338.4
7. Dickinson 345.7