March 8, 2002
College Park, Md. - Following a move to District II that saw top-six finishes achieved in all five fall tournaments, the Terrapin men's golf team looks to build on that experience when it opens the spring season March 16 at the Birkdale Collegiate in Charlotte, N.C.
The Terps previously competed with their ACC opponents in the southern District III-North, but a transfer to the geographically favorable Mid-Atlantic District II, made up of schools from Virginia to New York, kept them closer to home in the fall. As a result, Maryland captured a victory at the Temple Invitational and second- and third-place finishes at the ODU/Seascape Invitational and JMU Invitational, respectively.
"The move to District II was key," senior Pete Toole said. "It gave us that extra edge in confidence because we've played leaps and bounds better than last year, and we are poised to go to [the NCAA] regionals."
According to the most recent rankings of both Golfweek and Golfstat, the Terps stand as the top-ranked team in District II after a fall season in which they compiled a head-to-head record of 44-3 against their new competition. The top four teams in District II stand to gain selection to the NCAA Championships.
With three District II tournaments to go in the spring, the Terps hold head-to-head winning records against every regional opponent except Penn State (0-2). The Nittany Lions hold a five-stroke advantage over Maryland after finishing ahead of the Terps at the JMU Invitational and the Tillinghast Invitational. St. John's, winner at JMU, was the only other District II competitor to defeat Maryland head-to-head in a tournament but finished behind the Terps at Tillinghast and the Temple Invitational.
Despite the win at Temple, the Terps were not entirely satisfied with their results from the fall. Sitting in second place after day one at JMU, the Terps slipped to a third-place finish. And in its final tournament of the fall at the ODU/Seascape Invitational, the team held a five-shot advantage after the first round only to be overtaken by UNC-Wilmington on the final day to lose by one stroke.
"To win, you have to learn how to win," Coach Tom Hanna said. "To learn how to win, you've got to win enough times to where you get comfortable. I think the fall semester really showed these guys that they could win and that we were in a position to win three tournaments.
"Coming out of the toughest district in the country that has more teams that are NCAA tournament-qualified that don't go than most districts have that do go, I know that they thought it was going to be a little easier cakewalk. They've learned to overcome that. They know now, that no matter where you are, you've still got to put up the numbers. You still have to win, you still have to place high, you have to beat everybody that you can beat in your district every time. And they really focused in on that, and that's a credit to them."
Leading the way for the Terps in the fall were senior Corey Brigham and junior John Moheyer. The duo tied for the team's best stroke average at 71.73 and is tied for District II's top golfer rating in Golfstat's most recent ranking.
Brigham, a transfer from Baylor in his third year with the Terps, claimed three top-six finishes in the fall, including third place at the Cleveland Golf Championships. Moheyer had the Terps' top individual result in the fall - a second-place, six-under finish at the JMU Invitational - among his three top-five scores.
Toole, who placed second at Seascape with a five-under-par 139, bettered his spring 2001 average (78.3) by more than five strokes in the fall to 72.64. Freshman Bobby MacWhinnie, who averaged 75.1 in his first season, and sophomore Tim Kane, who carded two under-par rounds, rounds out a Terrapin lineup that shaved its average more than two strokes from 75.4 in spring 2001 to 73.36 in the fall.
The Terps have not backed off from their familiar southern competition. Maryland opens its season with back-to-back tournaments March 16-17 at the Birkdale Collegiate in Charlotte, N.C. and March 18-19 at the Cleveland Golf Championships in Aiken, S.C.
At the Birkdale, the Terps face a field that includes rivals Wake Forest, North Carolina and Virginia. The Cleveland Golf Championship field includes ACC foe Florida State and national contenders Virginia Tech and Georgia.
"I'm excited," Brigham said. "I think we've got two really tough tournaments right off the bat, but as well as we played in the fall, we have the confidence where I think we can go in there and definitely make some people go, 'Whoa, those guys got a lot better.'"