Aug. 3, 2006
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - If ever there was a year when the term "veteran" could become linked with "Terrapin," this would be the year for the University of Maryland men's golf team.
With seven seniors returning from the team that last spring made its fifth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, Maryland should be able to continue to build on its string of recent success and potentially achieve even more.
"We only lost one senior and he'll be very hard to replace," said head coach Tom Hanna, himself a veteran who begins his 16th year in charge of the program. "But we're a senior-heavy team. We'll be looking for the seniors to step up."
The lone loss from last year's group which tied for 20th at the NCAA East Regional is John Eades. A four-year starter for the Terrapins, Eades was a two-time All-Mid Atlantic District selection and was the District Player of the Year in 2006.
Despite that, the four juniors who made up the core of the lineup at the end of Spring 2006 will be Terrapin seniors - and veterans - this fall.
Blaine Peffley made an immediate impact on the Terps after becoming eligible following his transfer from the University of Arizona. He was the medalist at the Furman Intercollegiate in mid-March, finishing 10-under-par over the 54-hole event. Peffley finished six spring events with three top-10 finishes and five top-20 finishes and led the team with a 72.3 scoring average.
Tyler Witman has been a solid member of Maryland's starting lineup for three seasons and looks to have his consistency remain an asset in the Terps' arsenal for a fourth year. Witman had 26 of his 29 rounds count toward the team score last year, and his 74.2 scoring average was third on the team behind Peffley and Eades. Witman had six top-20 individual finishes last year.
Another successful transfer, Tully Coyle, was one of three players who played in all 11 events during 2005-06 for Maryland. Coyle, who came to Maryland from the University of Tulsa in the spring of 2005, also gave Hanna a solid effort in the middle of the lineup last year. Coyle had five top-20 finishes a year ago as a junior.
Joining Coyle in the battle for the third, fourth and fifth spots will be some other seniors who have improved from the competition between teammates for positions in the Terrapin lineup.
Matt Schall played in two fall events for the Terps in 2005-06, but improved to claim the No. 5 spot in Maryland's final four events in the spring. He finished the spring with one top-10 finish - a tie for seventh at the Cavalier Classic that was won by Maryland - and had a 74.9 scoring average through the season. Five of his 20 rounds on the year were at par or better.
Also in the mix for those lineup positions will be seniors Hunter Bendall and Skip Clasper. Bendall was second on the team at the VCU / Mattaponi Springs Shootout in Fall 2005, posting a season-best 68 en route to his season-best total of 222. Clasper played in three events for the Terps in Spring 2006, earning a tie for 30th at the William & Mary Invitational to post his best finish.
Also joining the squad for the Fall 2006 season will be a solid pair of freshmen. Brendan Tracy has had a good showing in a number of junior tournaments throughout his career, and Tom Hanna III (son of head coach Tom Hanna Jr.) has also brought an impressive set of credentials to the Terps. Hanna III was a three-time all-conference player at Saints Peter & Paul High School. He comes to Maryland after a 42-5-2 record in high school match-play events.
Maryland will play its toughest fall schedule ever, according to Coach Hanna. The fall season opens Sept. 11 and 12 at the Mid Pines Intercollegiate and will take the Terps to three new events on the fall schedule. Maryland will make its first appearance in recent years at the Xavier Invitational, the Coca-Cola Duke Golf Classic and the Landfall Tradition in Wilmington, N.C., as part of its five-event fall slate.
2006 MARYLAND MEN'S GOLF FALL SCHEDULE
Sept. 11-12 - at Mid Pines Intercollegiate (Southern Pines, N.C.)
Sept. 25-26 - at VCU/Mattaponi Springs Collegiate Shootout (Ruther Glen, Va.)
Oct. 2-3 - at Xavier Invitational (Loveland, Ohio)
Oct. 8-9 - at Coca-Cola Duke Golf Classic (Durham, N.C.)
Oct. 27-29 - at Landfall Tradition (Wilmington, N.C.)