Drexel Teammates Combine to Capture Four-Ball
FLEETWOOD, Pa. - As teammates on the Drexel University golf team, Michael Cook and Connor Schmidt play quite a bit of golf together. That much time spent on the golf course means knowing each other's games, tendencies and personalities, making them an excellent pair for the 28th Pennsylvania Four-Ball Championship. This was proven when Cook and Schmidt cruised to a four-shot victory in the championship at Moselem Springs Golf Club, which was presented by LECOM. Cook and Schmidt's 36-hole total of 131 (-9), including an opening round 62, gave the duo their first win in this event.
"It was very calm out there," said Schmidt, who plays out of Nemacolin Country Club. "It was fun playing with Michael since we're teammates, and we have such knowledge of each other's games. That really helped in a format like this."
For the two Drexel Dragons, it was Wednesday's opening round that was the key. After an early bogey on the par-4 second hole, both players made birdie on No. 4 to get back to even par. Then Cook made three consecutive birdies on holes 5-7. A bogey on No. 8 was countered by Schmidt's birdie on the ninth hole. After another birdie by Schmidt on No. 10 and a par on the 11th hole, Cook birdied three straight holes to put the team at 7-under par for the day.
"I figured I might as well get aggressive out there," said Cook, a member of Applebrook Golf Club. "He was carrying us on the first few holes and I knew that I needed to step up."
After Cook made a birdie on No. 17 on Wednesday, the team settled for par on the 18th hole and a final score of 62. That gave them a five-shot lead heading into Thursday's final round, and it proved to be more than enough cushion. Cook and Schmidt began round two with eight straight pars, all of the ho-hum variety with the exception of only a tough six-footer by Schmidt on the 8th hole. But then Cook birdied the par-4 ninth, and Schmidt added another red number on No. 11. Despite two bogeys coming down the stretch, Cook and Schmidt had done more than enough to win the title.
"Today was a little tougher for us with the conditions and the course setup," said Cook, referring to Thursday's windy afternoon that made the course significantly tougher for those with afternoon tee times. "We knew it wasn't impossible to shoot 8-under again, but that it really wasn't out there. So we tried to keep it simple and just have fun. In the first round, we kept it loose and had a lot of fun and it worked out, so we decided to try that again."
And like any good teammate, each player recognized the significant impact and advantage of knowing his partner's game.
"Both of our games worked so well off of each other," Cook remarked. "It was a lot of fun."
Finishing tied for second at 135 (-5) were the team of Brock Kovach and Nate Menon and the duo of Jesse Bingaman and Michael Thomas. Bingaman (Northampton Country Club) and Thomas (Scranton Municipal Men's Golf Association) were one of the teams tied for second place entering the day, and despite a 68 (-2), they could not move up enough to catch Cook and Schmidt. Meanwhile, Kovach (Berkshire Country Club) and Menon (LedgeRock Golf Club) shot 66 in round two, the low round of the day. That included four birdies and an eagle, vaulting them into a tie for second place for the championship.
Defending champs Zachary Herr and Jake Reilly were among a group of four teams that tied for fourth place at 137 (-3). Cook and Schmidt, meanwhile, are the first players from their respective clubs to win in the history of this championship.
The Pennsylvania Golf Association would like to thank the staff and membership of Moselem Springs Golf Club for their support and hospitality during the event.