The Colonials will enter the Atlantic 10 Championship tournament this weekend with the most experienced lineup of golfers in the competition.
At Grand Cypress Golf Club in Orlando, Fla., golf will look to capture its first title at the A-10 Championship since 2012. GW arrives on the course on the heels of a successful regular season and after a fourth-place finish at the same course last year, when the Colonials had two golfers earn top 10 finishes.
This year, the Colonials won their first team victory since 2012 and had two players win individual tournaments in the regular season. The team returned six members from last year’s roster and added two freshman – including Clifford Thompson, whose 3-under-par performance at Kingsmill Intercollegiate in March earned him A-10 Co-Rookie of the Week honors.
“For the first time in a long time, I felt like everything kind of came together golf-wise,” senior Jack Porcelli said. “You’re always looking for that formula of things you need to do in practice and play to finally win a tournament and pull one out.”
The championship will be held at the Grand Cypress Golf Club for the third consecutive year. The Colonials’ comfort with the course will provide them with a strategic advantage that few other teams will have, head coach Chuck Scheinost said.
“We have four guys who have played this golf course before, and we’re the only team that has that situation,” Scheinost said. “I’m excited – the golf course suits us well, even though it’s a little bit of a tougher golf course – and we’re going to come up with a great game plan to be able to play it successfully.”
Earlier this month at the Navy Spring Invitational, the team captured its first regular season title since 2006 after a stellar comeback, erasing a nine-shot deficit in the final round, despite playing without the service of star junior Logan Lowe.
Lowe and Porcelli have captured individual championship titles in the last two invitationals during the regular season. Lowe, who won the Seattle University Redhawk Invitational, and Porcelli, who captured the individual title at Navy, have both been instrumental in the team’s success this year.
Porcelli, who was named A-10 Golfer of the Week for his win at the Navy Spring Invitational last weekend, is part of a three-member senior class that hopes to add an A-10 Championship to its legacy.
Collectively, the four upperclassmen – Lowe, Porcelli, senior Vince Palazzolo and redshirt senior Christian Cichan – said the team is clicking at the right time.
Scheinost said that the rise of the program has been a gradual one that started with recruiting Porcelli and Palazzolo when he first became head coach five seasons ago.
“Really our success has been a byproduct of four years of work,” Scheinost said. “We put ourselves in contention at conference last year, and so this year to see it all come together in the spring a little bit is really special.”
The squad enters the A-10 tournament with a collective mindset that Scheinost has been preaching to his team all season: don’t try to play a perfect game – play a smart game.
“One thing that coach has talked about a lot this year is that you don’t necessarily need to be playing perfect golf to win an event,” Palazzolo said. “It’s about developing a good game plan and figuring out where to miss so that when the golf ball’s not going where you want it to, we can still find a way as a group to score and keep ourselves in contention.”
The team acknowledged that although this year’s tournament will bring with it an additional pressure to win – because its the last chance for the decorated senior class to go out on top – they will embrace the opportunity to take the course together one last time.
“Having such great teammates makes everything just a little bit easier, especially going into this last tournament,” redshirt senior Christian Cichan said. “Considering the magnitude, with how important it is for a lot of us, it’s easy to get down on yourself, but I know that when I go inside and I’m done for the day, that all these guys are going to support me no matter what.”
The Colonials return to action Friday in Orlando, Fla. Tee-time is slated for 9 a.m.