LANCASTER, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall's men's golf team is set to open the spring portion of its 2018 schedule this weekend at the two-day Hershey Cup, which is hosted by Rochester and begins on Sunday. Live results can be followed along at home by clicking here.
The Diplomats are aiming to build off an impressive fall campaign and continue its unprecedented run of four consecutive Centennial Conference (CC) Championships.
To watch a season preview video, featuring head coach Andy Tompos, click here.
Five returners and five newcomers make up a 2018 squad that is tasked with replacing two of the most-accomplished members of the program's history- Brad Lankler and Stephen Colodny.
Lankler was a three-time All-American who finished in fifth place at last season's NCAA Championships, setting a program and CC record for lowest tournament score at the by six strokes when he accumulated a 291 (71-74-72-74). Colodny, a 2016 All-American, captured the title at last year's CC Championships after leading every round.
Last year's team won their fourth straight CC Men's Golf Championship and eighth Crown in the previous 10 years before placing 20th out of 42 teams at the NCAA Championships – marking the third consecutive season the Diplomats finished in the top-20 at the Tournament.
Ben Mitchell figures to hold a crucial role in the team's success this spring. His 77.3 stroke average last year was third behind B. Lankler and Colodny, while he collected four top-10 finishes and shot a low round of 72 at the opening day of the CC Championships – en route to his sixth-place showing at the tournament.
Justin Lankler joins Mitchell as the only two players returning form the five-man group at last year's CC Championships. He produced a 77.6 stroke average a year ago with a pair of top-10 finishes. Off to a strong start this season, Lankler tied for second out of 89 golfers at the Mason-Dixon Classic in the fall.
Ian Murray and Drew O'Hern are being looked upon to provide contributions from the freshman class. Both finished in the top-five of the F&M Fall Invitational in October. O'Hearn led the Diplomats by shooting a 72, which was good for third, while Murray tied for fourth with a 73 total.
A Recap of the Fall
F&M was active in the fall, taking part in five events and securing top-three finishes in every competition. The Diplomats also collected a pair of team titles, placing first out of nine squads in team stroke place at the Montgomery Cup on Sept. 25, as well as claiming first at the F&M Invitational on Oct. 16.
Ben Mitchell led the way with a 74.75 stroke average through eight rounds in the fall, which was good for second in the Centennial while Justin Lankler was fourth in the CC with a 75.33 average. Seiichiro Nakai also put together a solid fall campaign with a 76.8 stroke average through five rounds.
Following the Diplomats' spring opener on Sunday, F&M is set to travel to The Bridges Golf Club for the McDaniel Spring Invite on April 7-8. The regular-season slate of competitions concludes on April 13-14th at the Fred Kratz Invitational on April 13-14.
This year's CC Championship is being held at the Brookside Country Club in Macungie, Pa. and is scheduled to run from April 27-29.
CC Preseason Poll
F&M was selected as the preseason favorite to win the 2018 Centennial Championship in a poll of Conference coaches. The Diplomats led the way with 32 total points and a pair of first-place votes, followed by McDaniel in second with 31 points and Swarthmore in third with 25 points.