GW Golf Expects to Come of Age in 2004-05
Aug. 12, 2004
To say that there is optimism in Foggy Bottom concerning the prospects for the 2004-05 GW golf season would be a huge understatement. There is good reason for this optimism. The 2003-04 season was the Colonials most successful season in more than 30 years. GW was 134-68, a .643% winning percentage. The Colonials finished in the top five in seven of their 13 tournaments and were among the top 10 in 11. They won two tournaments and finished the season ranked seventh (of 51 schools) in the Mid-Atlantic Region narrowly missing an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. With his top seven players returning and several strong prospects added to the mix, GW coach Scott Allen expects the squad to contend for the school's first NCAA bid since 1947.
In 2003-04, Allen was fortunate to have two different players emerge as players who could carry a squad and play the number one spot: one in the fall and one in the spring. This season, Allen hopes to see them both play strong golf all season. One of those players is junior Brian Carroll (Crystal Lake, IL). An A-10 All-Academic selection last season, Carroll was the team's leader in the spring. He averaged 74.2 in the spring and 75.5 for the season. Carroll also was GW's scoring-average leader in his freshman year when he won the Lehigh Don-Mershon Classic and finished second at the Rehoboth Beach Spring Invitational. In 2003-04, he was runner-up at the GW Invitational with an even-par 144 and tied for fourth at the UVa-Andrea Brotto Classic with another even-par 216 (in a field that included Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Furman and the Italian National Team). Last summer, Carroll played in both the Illinois Amateur and Open and qualified for the U.S. Amateur by shooting 68-66 at Notre Dame's Warren Golf Course.
The team's leader in the fall was junior Andrew Gallo who averaged 73.0 in the fall and 76.28 for the season. Gallo won his second tournament as a Colonial (he won the Temple Classic in his freshman season) when he birdied his last two holes to win the Rehoboth Beach Invitational with 72-69. Those birdies proved timely as he won the individual title by two shots and GW took the team title by a shot with a score of 588. Gallo finished seventh at the Navy Fall Classic with an even par 142 to lead the team to a third-place finish with a total of 584. Although Gallo is known for his consistency and accurate play off the tee (he finished the season ranked 29th in the country in driving accuracy), his most interesting round may have come at the ODU SeaScape Intercollegiate. There, he shot 42-30 to finish with an even-par 72 and birdied six of his last eight holes. Last summer, Gallo played in the British Amateur at St. Andrews and the Royal Canadian Amateur. He also finished as runner-up at the Troy Invitational.
One player from whom Allen will be expecting a lot is sophomore Jack Tyler (Novi, MI). As a freshman, Tyler opened his collegiate career with a 69 at Navy, where he finished 10th with a 143. He added another Top 10 finish with an even-par 213 (73-68-72) at the JMU Invitational the following week. One of the most exciting rounds of Tyler's first season at GW came at the Princeton Invitational, where the freshman got hot early in the opening round and made six birdies and an eagle in an eight-hole stretch to get to six under par. Tyler made his seventh birdie of the day on the 18th hole and posted a 70. His 76.24 scoring average is the lowest ever by a GW freshman. Back home in Michigan, he was the 2002 High School runner-up and just finished 22nd at the 2004 Michigan Open with 76-75-71-72.
The Colonials' other Michigander came into his own in 2003-04. Junior Dan Mirabella (Ann Arbor, MI) has become a steady force in the middle of the lineup for GW, averaging 76.45 as a sophomore. Mirabella finished tied for fifth at the GW Invitational with 76-72 and sixth at the rain/sleet-shortened Bethany Beach Invitational with 76. However it is his consistency that his teammates have grown to expect. Mirabella's scores counted in 13 of the squad's last 15 rounds. This summer he just missed qualifying for the U.S. Am Public Links when he shot 77-69 and was the first alternate from the Richmond, VA, Qualifier. In 2003, he qualified for the Michigan Amateur.
The fourth member of the Fab Four (Allen's recruiting class in 2002) is junior Federico Guzman (Bogotá, Colombia). Guzman was named Atlantic 10 All-Conference in 2003 as a freshman when he placed fifth at the A-10 Tournament with 225. He had another strong year as a sophomore. Guzman averaged 77.29 and placed third at the Rehoboth Beach Invitational, helping the team to victory, shooting 72-74. He added a 222 at the JMU Invitational and led GW in the final round of the Princeton Invitational (where the team placed fifth) with a 74. In 2001, Guzman finished second in the Colombian Amateur, defeating Florida's Camillo Villegas in the semifinals.
In addition to Tyler, the Colonials have another sophomore looking to build on a strong freshman year, Raman Luthra (East Amherst, NY). Luthra finished fifth at the GW Invitational with 72-76 and shot his season-low 71 at the McDonald Cup at Yale Golf Course. He earned a start in 14 of the Colonials' final 16 rounds last year. As a junior golfer, he had four AJGA Top 10 finishes. Last summer, Luthra finished eighth at the Troy Invitational with 225.
Last year's final newcomer was Brandon Muir, a transfer from the University of Louisiana-Monroe. Muir got his Colonial career off to a great start with a steady 73-73 at the Navy Fall Classic where he finished 18th. The following week he shot 219 at the JMU Invitational, including a one-under-par 70 in the second round and he added a ninth-place finish at the Rehoboth Beach Invitational with 77-73. Muir's contributions were limited in the spring as he underwent a swing change. Allen is hoping for two strong semesters from Muir in his senior campaign.
The Colonials also are expecting to see contributions from two players who sat out the 2003-04 season, senior Ameet Patil (Gates Mill, OH) and sophomore Bob Rohr (Lake Forest, IL). Patil's best showing as a Colonial came at the 2002 Rehoboth Beach Invitational where he shot a steady 75-76 to finish tied for 10th, which led the Colonials. Rohr, who sat out his freshman year, finished 22nd at the 2003 Westfields/PGA Junior shooting 296 for 72 holes.
With all these players returning, one might expect this year's freshman class to have trouble cracking the line-up. However, Allen believes this talented group will contribute as well, making this GW's deepest team ever. The first freshman to commit was Tim Johnson (Marblehead, MA). Johnson was a 2003 graduate of Governor Dummer Academy and spent the 2003-04 school year working on his game at the International Junior Golf Academy in Hilton Head, SC. He played in the 2002 U.S. Junior Amateur and the 2004 U.S. Amateur Public Links. At the Pub Links, Johnson missed advancing to match play by one shot, shooting 74-75. As a junior golfer, he finished in the Top 20 at the Massachusetts State Junior Am in both 2002 and 2003 and won the 2003 IJGT Clemson Invitational with 69-73. He collected five Top 10 finishes in 15 IJGT events in 2003-04.
Alvaro Tapia (Panama City, Panama) is the No. 1-ranked junior in Panama and one of the top junior golfers in all of Central America. Tapia finished third at the Central American Championships in 2004 and played in the 2002 Callaway Junior Worlds. In high school at Avon Old Farms School in CT, Tapia was captain and MVP of a team that went 19-3 in 2004. He placed second in the 2004 New England Prep School Championships and third in 2003.
The final recruit to commit was Danny Brooker (Windsor, England). Like Johnson, Brooker spent the 2003-04 school year at the International Junior Golf Academy after graduating from Windsor Boys School in 2003. In 2003-04, he played an extensive IJGT schedule, amassing three top 10s and four top 20s in 13 events. Brooker finished sixth in tough conditions on difficult courses shooting 232 over three rounds at the IJGT Kiawah Island Invitational. Brooker's 75 was the low score in the final round at the famous Ocean Course, site of the 1991 Ryder Cup. He finished eighth with 149 at the IJGT Bull Run Classic and tied his future teammate, Tim Johnson, for seventh at the IJGT at Crystal Springs. Back in the UK, Brooker qualified for the 2004 English Amateur and lost in the first round to a former European Tour player, 3 and 2.
Allen has compiled a schedule that includes a trip to the prestigious Northern Intercollegiate at Wisconsin. That should give the Colonials every opportunity to achieve their goal of qualifying for the NCAA Regional either through winning the conference or earning one of the Mid-Atlantic Region's four at-large bids. With one of the deepest and most talented GW squads ever, expectations are high in Foggy Bottom.