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Thursday, May 10, 2007

MU golf/Steve Edelson's column today on MU golf team

As golfer Dave Marshall stood on the 12th hole at Sea Trail Resort in Sunset Beach, N.C., the Monmouth University senior co-captain encountered head coach Dennis Shea Sr.
All anyone knew was that the Hawks were in the hunt for their first Northeast Conference championship as the final round was winding down last Sunday afternoon, but precisely where they stood was anyone's guess.
"I was grinding as hard as I could, trying to hang in there because I knew it was going to be close," said Marshall. "(Shea) told me Anthony (Campanile) was playing well, and the other guys were doing well, so I knew we had a shot."
Later, as he stood in the 18th fairway, Marshall watched Campanile sink a putt just ahead of him, and from the reactions around the final green he got the feeling something special was about to take place.
When they tallied up the scores, the Hawks' 54-hole total of 902 was good enough for a one-shot victory over defending champion St. Francis, Pa., and a ticket to the NCAA West Regional next week in Tempe, Ariz.

"Guys just went crazy when the scores were announced," said Shea. "It was pretty exciting. I'm especially happy for our seniors captains (Marshall and Andrew Beittel). They worked so hard. Every day, every tournament."
Arizona State hosts the West Regional May 15-17 at the ASU Karsten Creek Golf Course, where the Hawks will tee off against powerhouse programs like Arizona, Wake Forest, UNLV, USC, Stanford and UCLA. In all, 10 of the 27 teams in Tempe, along with two individuals not on teams advancing, will qualify for the NCAA Finals at the Golden Horseshoe Golf Course in Williamsburg, Va., from May 30-June 2.
"We're going to miss graduation, which is during the NCAAs," said Marshall."So, while we won't get to walk down the aisle, if you're going to miss the ceremony this is the best reason I can think of."
Early in the conference tournament, it was Marshall anchoring the lineup, posting a team-low 71 in the opening round, as the Hawks grabbed the lead after the first day. He then backed it up with a second-round 74.
But on the final day it was Campanile who took charge. In windy conditions, the junior from the Manahawkin section of Stafford Township posted a 68 that was the best round of the day by five shots. He finished second overall, one shot back at 2-over-par, while Sacred Heart's Pat Fillian from Tinton Falls was tied for third.
"I had other coaches coming up to me and saying what an unbelievable score that was," noted Shea. "No one else could even break par."
Marshall ended up tied for sixth, while sophomore Ryan Beck placed 14th, freshman Michael McComb was 28th and Beittel ended up 43rd.
Not bad for a team that was picked to finish fifth in the NEC. It's a program that has been building momentum for the past few years, beginning with Campanile winning the individual crown and the Hawks taking the team title at the 2004 ECAC Championships. Campanile won the NEC individual title in 2005.
"I knew it was possible because we have a really strong group of guys," noted Marshall. "We struggled in fall, then we started playing better as the spring came along. We went out there in the NECs with a game plan that we all had to play well. It had to be a total team effort. And we hadn't played that well all spring.
"Now, going to the NCAAs is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, especially since I'm a senior."

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