LANCASTER, Pa. - The spring portion of Franklin & Marshall's men's golf schedule is right around the corner, as the Swarthmore Invitational on Sunday, March 24 will mark the start of the 2019 season.
A tremendous fall promises an impressive year ahead for the Diplomats, who captured their fifth consecutive Centennial Conference (CC) Men's Golf Title last spring as their command over the Conference continued.
For the season preview, click here.
Losing only one senior to graduation (Ben Mitchell '18), the Diplomats bring back several members of last year's talented squad and introduce four freshmen. Mitchell took home the CC Championship individual crown in his final year at F&M in addition to being named the Centennial Player of the Year and earning All-Region and All-America Honorable Mention accolades.
The Diplomats paced the Conference with six top-three finishes, including one team championship, and Coach Andy Tompo took home the CC Coach of the Year award. Although F&M missed the final 18-team cut at the NCAA Championship, finishing in 28th place out of 42 teams, several important returners will look to build off the experience in the upcoming season.
Jared Berlin has made an immediate impact with the Diplomats. The first-year took home two CC Golfer of the Week awards in six weeks of play and led the CC with three tournament wins in the fall. He also tops the CC with a 71.91 scoring average. Drew O'Hern also took home a CC Golfer of the Week award in the fall after winning the Gino Biondi Invitational.
Justin Lankler placed third at the 2018 CC Championship to build on his already impressive resume. Following his freshman year performance where he had two top-10 finishes, Lankler doubled that total last season and goes into his junior year with great experience under his belt. His fall season was strong as well: Lankler finished in the top 10 in four of six fall events, coming away with a first-place finish at the Ted Keller Invitational.
Seiichiro Nakai joins Lankler as a junior leader of the young F&M roster. Nakai ended his sophomore campaign with three consecutive top-10 finishes, including a sixth-place finish in the CC Championships. His 74.27 scoring average in the fall ranked fifth in the Centennial, and he finished in the top 10 in all of the fall events.
A Recap of the Fall
Strong play through six events marked a promising start to the Diplomats' 2018-2019 season. F&M slightly edged out McDaniel for the best average score (295.91) and tied Gettysburg with three wins. These victories came at the Penn-State Harrisburg Invitational, the Ted Keller Invitational, and the Marywood Invitational.
An additional victorious effort took place at the F&M Invitational on October 15th, as the F&M White team came in first, followed closely by the F&M blue team in second. Fifteen other schools trailed the two Diplomat squads in what turned out to be a dominant home event.
The Swarthmore Invitational kicks off the season on Sunday, March 24, followed by the two-day McDaniel Spring Invitational the following weekend. Regular season play comes to an end April 13-14 at the Rosemont Raven Invitational.
The CC Championship will commence on Friday, April 26 and go on for three days. A two-week hiatus leads into the NCAA Championship, where the Diplomats will hope to earn the right to travel down to Nicholasville, Ky. for the competition from May 14 to May 17.
CC Preseason Poll
F&M was selected as the preseason favorite to win the 2019 Centennial Championship in a poll of CC coaches, getting the edge over McDaniel with 34 points and four first-place votes. Although the Diplomats find themselves outside the national top 25, they received six votes and are on the doorstep of a national ranking.