ROCHESTER, NY – St. John Fisher College begins its quest for back-to-back conference titles as the opening two rounds of the 2011-12 Empire 8 Men's Golf Championship take place Saturday and Sunday at the Yahnundasis Golf Club in New Hartford.
The third and fourth rounds of the championship will be played at Hershey Country Club on April 21 and 22. The Empire 8 champion will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Men's Golf Championship. The top five scorers at the end of the tournament will earn first-team all-conference honors with the next five finishers being named to the second team.
St. John Fisher regained the conference title last season for its sixth title in seven years. Senior Tyler McArdell earned Medalist/Player of the Year honors in 2010-11, shooting the best third and fourth rounds in last year's championship. Senior Chris Clapper of the Cardinals tied for second in last year's tournament to garner first-team honors. Senior Brady Yates and junior Joe Radulski each return after receiving second-team all-conference honors last year.
The Cardinals won their second consecutive St. Lawrence Invitational last weekend with sophomore transfer Thaddeus Wier earning medalist honors with rounds of 71 and 72.
Moravian College (2nd place), Susquehanna University (3rd), and The University of Scranton (4th) finished within six strokes of one another in last year's conference championship. Junior Thomas Fenyak (Centreville, VA/Westfield HS), pictured at left, a second-team all-conference honoree in 2010-11, shot a team-best 73 to lead Moravian to a season-opening win in a tri-match on Monday.
Susquehanna, which captured the conference title in its first year in the Empire 8 in 2009, was scheduled to play in the Gettysburg Invitational on Monday, but weather caused the tournament to be postponed. Sophomore Stephen Welkie earned first-team all-conference accolades and was named Empire 8 Rookie of the Year last season.
Sophomore Charles Hudacek led Scranton to the team title at the Utica Invitational earlier this season, shooting a career-best two-under par 70. The title was the second consecutive for the Royals at Utica, a tournament featuring five Empire 8 squads.
Elmira College, which placed fifth in last year's championship, is coming off a third-place finish at the 16-team St. Lawrence Invitational. Senior Paul Evans shot an even-par 72 in the second round, while freshman Evan Clarke shot a 73 in the second round.
Senior Tyler Woodward was the top Nazareth College finisher in the St. Lawrence Invitational, placing 21st. The Golden Flyers finished sixth in the 2010-11 conference championship.
Sophomore Richie Szeglia of Stevens Institute of Technology was named this season's first Empire 8 Player of the Week. The Ducks are looking to improve upon their seventh-place finish in last year's championship.
Sophomore Mike Reilly was the top Utica College finisher at the St. Lawrence Invitational, while junior John Gaspa shot the team's top round of the tournament.
Release courtesy of Empire 8 Conference office.