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2004 UConn Men's Golf Outlook

After showing a tremendous improvement from their 2002-03 season results, the University of Connecticut hopes to capitalize on a very strong fall 2003 golf season. Filled with progress, UConn shaved two full strokes off of its fall 2002 team average and head coach Ron Dubois hopes to see this trend continue through the spring season.

"We have eight different golfers who got tournament experience this past fall," head coach Ron Dubois says. "That experience in competition will provide depth and incentive for improvement as a team. I fully expect the team performance to improve during the spring competition. We are scheduled for challenging and exciting tournaments. Our goal is to participate in the BIG EAST Tournament and to qualify for the regional NCAA Championship."

The Huskies finished the fall of 2003 with a 6-3 head-to-head record against members of the BIG EAST Conference after not defeating a single BIG EAST team in all of the fall of 2002. UConn had a mid-season stretch where a Husky golfer shot under-par in five out of seven rounds, a feat that was not accomplished at any point during the 2002-03 season in either the fall or spring. Individually, Jordan Burke earned medalist honors at the fall New England Championships, a performance that pushed the Huskies to a third place finish out of 47 competing schools. Cause for optimism abounds.

It was a fall of growth on the golf course and also cultural growth as Dubois, eager to train the mind as well as the body, brought the team to the Baseball Hall of Fame while on a trip to upstate New York for the ECAC Championships at Colgate. UConn also visited New York City while en route to a tournament in southern New Jersey, seeing The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and visiting popular sites like Rockefeller Center and "Ground Zero."

Junior Jordan Burke was UConnís top golfer during the fall as he led the Huskies with a 74.9 stroke average, playing all six events. Burke also took home the medalist honor at the New England Championship, shooting a two-round total of 146 to finish two strokes ahead of his nearest competitor. Burke also produced an excellent showing at The McLaughlin at Bethpage Red where he tied for fourth with a three-under-par 207 over three rounds, shooting 68-69-70.

Junior Mike Murphy also came within a whisker of winning a prestigious tournament this fall when he finished just a single stroke back of the medalist at the ECAC Championship, helping UConn to an impressive seventh-place overall finish. Murphy also shot a first-round 68 en route to a third place finish at the MacDonald Cup on a course at Yale which UConn will return to this spring. Murphyís 76.3 stroke average was second on the team this fall behind only Burke.

Two other juniors, Justin Ciombor and Dan Keefe also checked in at 77.0 or better this fall and will help form the backbone of a formidable Husky squad. Ciomborís top effort of the fall was a 13th place finish at Yaleís MacDonald Cup on the strength of an opening round 72. Keefe matched that 72 as he tied Burke for UConnís top spot at the fall season-opening Blue Devil Invitational.

Several new faces bolstered UConn in the fall season and will look to contribute similarly in the spring. Junior Jeff Stebbins played in four tournaments this past fall and recorded a solid 77.6 stroke average. Stebbins tied for eight overall and was first for the Huskies at the season-ending John MacDonald Classic. That performance came on the heels of a 17th-place showing at the New Englands the previous week, ranking him second for UConn finishers.

Freshmen Jason Parajeckas and Dan White played in a pair of tournaments each during their first fall season in Storrs. White turned in an impressive 78.3 stroke average in his fall events while Parajeckas also gained great experience in the fallís final two events, the New England Championship and the John MacDonald Classic. Sophomore Clint Hyland, a transfer from Campbell University, saw action for UConn in the John MacDonald Classic, shooting a 160 (81-79) in his Husky debut.

The Husky lineup this spring will also include sophomore Michael Hornung who did not compete this past fall but played for UConn in the spring of 2003. Freshman Jon Klein of Southington, Conn., will also compete for playing time in the spring.

UConn will also benefit this spring from its sleek new team van which will improve the teamís travel comfort and provide a tremendous boost to the programís image. The teamís new custom van, like the team in the spring of 2004, is ready to roll.

 


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