WARREN, Ohio – By the end of the first day of the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference Championships on Sunday afternoon at Avalon Lakes Golf and Country Club, the Penn State Altoona men's golf team had worked its way into first place out of nine teams.
The Lions shot 318 in Sunday's opening round, tying for their fourth-lowest score of the season. Penn State Altoona holds a two-stroke lead over second place Pitt-Bradford and Pitt-Greensburg, who are both tied with 320. La Roche College was in fourth place with 324, and Penn State Behrend was in fifth with 327.
"I've said since day one that the conference tournament would be a tight race, and we're leading by a nose," said Penn State Altoona head coach Tom Koehle. "Kudos to Bradford and Greensburg. They played well and their standouts did what they had to do. I'm not counting out La Roche or Behrend. They could throw out a low number early, and we could quickly become the chasers."
Luke Hoffnagle (Spring Grove, PA/Spring Grove) led the Lions on Sunday, placing sixth individually out of 43 golfers with 77 on the par 72 course. Hoffnagle's 77 is his second-lowest score of the season.
Ethan Yohe (Murrysville, PA/Franklin Regional) shot 79 to tie for ninth place, while Jimmy Gillespie (Glen Mills, PA/Garnet Valley) and Payton Guelich (Philipsburg, PA/Philipsburg-Osceola) each carded an 81 to tie for 11th place. Carter Fischer (Bellefonte, PA/Philipsburg-Osceola) was a late scratch from the Lions' lineup, as he was unable to compete due to illness.
"We pulled together as a team today. The guys knew they just had to stay within themselves and play solid, and that's what they did. It's a resilient group, and we have a chance tomorrow," Koehle stated. "It's not ideal playing a man down, but the health and wellbeing of our student-athletes is our most important responsibility. Carter came down with bronchitis, and it hit him hard this morning. We are hopeful he will play tomorrow, but only if he is healthy enough."
Penn State Altoona men's golf will look to finish strong and wrap up first place in the second and final day of the AMCC Championships tomorrow, Monday, October 8. Should the Lions win, they will secure their sixth-ever AMCC title and earn their fifth-ever berth into the NCAA Division III Championships.