April 22, 2003
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -
University of Maryland goes back on the road for its final regular season tournament this week intending to solidify its position as the No. 2-ranked team in the district and build momentum for a possible NCAA Regional berth.
The Terps are coming off a ninth-place finish at last week's ACC Championships, but veteran head coach Tom Hanna says his team is putting that performance behind it and focusing on the future, which includes the likely possibility of a second consecutive NCAA postseason berth. Maryland is currently ranked second in NCAA District II, a position it has maintained for most of the season. Penn State, the host of this week's 54-hole Rutherford Invitational in State College, Pa., is ranked No. 1 in the district.
A year ago, Maryland finished second in this tournament, which again will be contested at the par-72, 6,545-yard Blue Course.
"This is a good, well-conditioned course," says Hanna, whose club finished second to host Penn State last year. "I hope we can get it under par [the Terps finished eight-over a year ago]. I wouldn't classify it as a real difficult course, but you do have to pay attention to your tee shots."
Maryland has fared well against District II competition this season and is on pace for a second straight NCAA Regional bid. The regional field will be announced May 5. "This is a big District II tournament for us," says Hanna. "If we play well, we should solidify our regional ranking and that will in turn help us contend for a better seeding [in the NCAA tournament]. It will be a qualify field, including some Big Ten teams. We know we have to re-group. We're not lamenting our performance at the ACC tournament, but we are concentrating on moving forward."
Prior to the ACC Championships, the Terps finished second at the Wofford Invitational (losing in a sudden-death playoff) and third at the William & Mary Invitational. "It's a question of finding our confidence again," said Hanna.
In last year's runner-up finish, then-freshman Bobby MacWhinnie was the Terps' top finisher, placing ninth overall on the same course where he won a state high school title. MacWhinnie finished one-over par with a 54-hole total of 217, one shot better than current senior John Moheyer, who finished in a tie for 10th. Tim Kane, now a junior, also finished among the top 20, turning in a five-over score of 221 to tie for 19th.
Freshman John Eades, the Terps' low scorer in three of five spring tournaments, is the team's spring scoring leader, averaging 74.7 strokes across 13 rounds. Kane (74.8) is second, including an individual title at the Wofford Invitational April 11-12.
Teams will play 36 holes on Saturday and 18 holes on Sunday.