Shaffer Era Begins Friday at Navy Fall Invitational
Sept. 11, 2008
WASHINGTON, DC - The 2008-09 season signals a new era in the GW Golf program as new head coach Terry Shaffer takes over the team for which he once played. Shaffer leads the Colonials into battle Friday and Saturday at the Navy Fall Invitational in Annapolis, MD. The Colonials compete twice each year at Navy in the Fall and Spring. Last Fall, GW placed ninth in the 17-team field at Annapolis.
A '79 graduate of GW, Shaffer will mentor one of the deepest teams in the history of the program. The Colonials return eight players that have started at least 12 rounds at GW. All eight of the returnees have shot under par at least once in their collegiate career. Along with the addition of three talented newcomers, there is reason for optimism in Foggy Bottom that the Colonials will be right in the mix to achieve their goals: return to the postseason (GW played in the NCAA tournament in 2006) and become the premier golf program in the Northeast.
In 2007-08 the Colonials used several different line-ups and got a lot of players valuable tournament experience. Having several experienced players competing for starting spots each week will ensure that five players will bring their "A" game to each event.
The most seasoned returnee is senior co-captain Lewis Sturdy (Kent, England). Sturdy played in 30.5 rounds and averaged 75.4. The highlight of Sturdy's season came at the GW Invitational where he shot 73-72-36 to finish second out of 105 players. Sturdy has been a workhorse for GW leading the team in rounds played in both his sophomore and junior years. The Colonials' next most experienced player is Juan Pablo Zuluaga (Bogota, Colombia). As a freshman, Zuluaga was a member of the five-man traveling squad to make the trip to the NCAA Championship at Lake Nona County Club in Orlando, FL. The 2006 NCAA berth was GW's first since 1946. Zuluaga played in 16.5 rounds for GW and fired a 69 at the season-opening Navy Fall Classic. Senior co-captain Eddie Newland (Piedmont, CA) has played in the last two Atlantic 10 Conference tournaments. In 19.5 rounds Newland has two top-10 finishes, placing eighth at the Rehoboth Beach Invitational with 70-78 and seventh at the Navy Spring Classic with 75-71.
GW will have three talented juniors in the mix each week as well. Cole Turner (Marion, IN) had the lowest scoring average of any Colonial last year, averaging 75.0 in 19.5 rounds. Cole excelled when he had the opportunity to return to the Hoosier state. He finished third at the Notre Dame Irish Spring Classic in April shooting 70-70 and he placed 16th at the Earl Yestingsmeier-Ball State Invitational shooting 72-73-70. As impressive as Turner's results have been on the course, they are even more impressive in the classroom. Last summer, he was pre-accepted to GW's Medical School. Turner is looking forward to a big year on the course now that the pressure of gaining admission to grad school is off. Michael Perlmutter (Rockville, MD) has one of the top junior golf resumes of any golfer to sign with GW. He finished third at the Rehoboth Beach Invitational as a freshman shooting 72-71. Junior Sebastian Palomares (Bogota, Colombia) really came into his own last year. `SeaBass,' as he is known to his teammates, fired an opening-round 68 on his way to a third-place finish at the Navy Spring Invitational.
The Colonials' sophomore class in 2008-09 is led by six-time Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week, Brendan Barrack (Toronto, Ontario). The six awards were the most in the history of the Atlantic 10 Conference for a golfer. He just missed winning Rookie of the Year honors at the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament where he was GW's low finisher. Barrack averaged a steady 75.4 in 27.5 rounds. He placed seventh at the Navy Spring Classic, shooting 73-73 and 14th at the A-10 Tournament, shooting 78-70-69. Sophomore Max Hamm (Wiesbaden, Germany) has an impressive junior resume as well, having represented Europe in the Junior Ryder Cup against the top juniors from the U.S. and representing Continental Europe against the UK in the Jacques Leglise Cup. As a Colonial, Hamm played several rounds on the `A' team but had his biggest success at the McDaniel College Invitational, playing on GW's `B' team against some of the region's top Division III schools. Hamm birdied the final hole to shoot 73-70 and finished tied for first.
In addition to all of the talent returning, GW has several talented freshmen coming to Foggy Bottom. Brandon Rukin (Pepper Pike, OH) will make the shortest trip of the three freshmen to GW this fall. Rukin has several top-5 finishes at PGA Junior Series and AJGA events. The second freshman is Santander, Spain's Javier Ballesteros. If that name sounds familiar, it should. Javier is the son of Seve Ballesteros, winner of three British Opens and two Masters Championships. GW's final freshman comes from all the way across the globe. Hong Kong's junior champion Martin Liu will give the Colonials another talented rookie in the mix for starting spots each week.
The 2008-09 schedule is among the most difficult in years. The Colonials will play in some of the top local tournaments including events at Navy, Princeton and their own two `home' events but it's the `out-of-region' schedule that is the most impressive. GW will travel to three events that are hosted by teams that advanced from the NCAA Regionals to the NCAA Finals, the Louisville Cardinal Intercollegiate, the Virginia Cavalier Classic and Indian Hoosier Classic. In addition, GW will play the prestigious Adams Cup of Newport and the ODU SeaScape Classic. With a strong schedule and solid returnees, Shaffer and the Colonials could be in a position to make another run at the NCAA tournament.