Oglethorpe’s Jim Owen Named Nation’s Best D-III Golf Coach

Coach Owen instructs Anthony Maccaglia.

Yesterday, the Golf Coaches Association of America, together with Eaton Corporation, announced the six outstanding collegiate golf coaches receiving this year’s Dave Williams Award, presented by Eaton Golf Pride to recognize the national coaches of the year. Oglethorpe University head men’s golf coach Jim Owen earned the honor among all D-III coaches.

Owen guided the Stormy Petrels through a magical 2011-12 season that culminated with the program winning their second NCAA Championship in just four years. After a fall season that featured three top-five finishes, Owen settled on a spring lineup of a freshman (Anthony Maccaglia), two sophomores (Hayden Jones and Anthony Amodeo), a junior (Eric Quinn) and a lone senior (Matt Rebitch). That quintet proved nearly unbeatable, winning three of six spring events while narrowly settling for second place in the other three.

Coach Owen with Hayden Jones.

The Petrels won the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) for the 10th time in April when they led wire-to-wire en route to an easy 21-stroke victory at the Tunica National Resorts in Mississippi. Less than a month later, Owen’s squad duplicated the feat, this time on the biggest stage of them all at the NCAA Championships, on their way to a convincing 20-stroke win at the Mission Inn Resort in Florida.

In addition to the 2012 NGCAA Coach of the Year (COTY) honor, Owen has been named SCAC Men’s Golf COTY 12 times! He’ll be looking to guide his program to their 13th straight trip to the NCAAs when the 2012-13 season gets underway this fall as the Petrels begin play in the new Southern Athletic Association.

Congratulations, Coach Owen!

Petrel Pride Abounds in Golf, Baseball, Track

Oglethorpe student-athletes have been pulling double duty lately, between studying for finals and end-of-season practices and games—and it’s paying off in multiple sports!

Black and gold reigns! Pictured: junior Eric Quinn, freshman Anthony Maccaglia, sophomore Hayden Jones , senior Matt Rebitch, sophomore Anthony Amodeo and Coach Owen.

The Oglethorpe Men’s Golf team dusted the field this weekend to win their 10th SCAC Men’s Golf Championship at the Tunica Resorts in Mississippi. The Petrels led wire-to-wire to take the hardware for the fourth time in five years and earn their 14th trip to the NCAA Championships.

Junior Eric Quinn won medalist honors and the SCAC Golfer-of-the-Year distinction by shooting 3-under par for the event to win by 7 strokes. Freshman Anthony Maccaglia finished tied for 6th at 8-over par to earn both First Team All-Conference and Freshman of the Year honors. Sophomore Hayden Jones joined them on the All-SCAC First Team by shooting 4-over par and finishing in a tie for second place. Senior Matt Rebitch and sophomore Anthony Amodeo also enjoyed fine weekends, coming home in a tie for 14th and 17th place, respectively.

Automatic bid in hand, the Petrels will now turn their attentions to the 2012 NCAA Championships, which Oglethorpe is co-hosting with the Central Florida Sports Commission, to be held May 15-18 at the Mission Inn Resort in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida.

OU senior Jake Spear selected to the All-SCAC first team.

Just days before, two members of the Oglethorpe baseball team earned All-SCAC honors. Senior second baseman Jake Spear was selected to the All-SCAC first team, and senior Joe Parillo was selected as All-SCAC honorable mention as a designated hitter. This selection represents the second All-SCAC honor for Spear, who made the 2009 honorable mention list as a freshman. This is Parillo’s first All-SCAC selection.

And good news comes in three! The Track Petrels took the podium at the SCAC Championship in Birmingham. The women’s 4×100 relay team (junior Sherry Blystone and sophomores Kyana Jenkins, Ky’Laine Rogers and Raven Foust) had the highest relay finish in school history by finishing a close second to national leader Rhodes.

Record holder Katy Galli

Freshman Katy Galli concluded a spectacular first year by breaking her own school record TWICE in the 100 meter hurdles by running a 15.69 in the preliminaries and then breaking it again in the final with a 15.44. Galli’s second place finish was right behind national champion Tiarra Goode’s conference record-breaking victory.  Galli’s first year concludes with six indoor and outdoor school records. The women’s team finished 8th overall, the same as last year, but scored a higher point total in a much tougher conference.

The OU Petrels now turn focus to their next immediate goal—conquering final exams!

Former OU Star to Play in PGA Tournament This Weekend

Former Oglethorpe golfing great Olafur Loftsson, who guided the Stormy Petrels to their first ever NCAA Championship in May 2009, earned an invitation to compete in the PGA Tour Wyndham Championship held this weekend at the Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C.

Loftsson, who now plays under scholarship as a senior for UNC-Charlotte, will compete at the PGA Tour event as an amateur after earning the invite by winning the prestigious Cardinal Amateur in Greensboro this past weekend. He fired a final round 65 to win the event by four strokes and clinch his chance to compete against the sport’s best this weekend.

In May of 2009, Loftsson, then a sophomore transfer from Gardabaer, Iceland, won medalist honors and the Arnold Palmer Player-of-the-Year distinction by leading Oglethorpe to the Division III National Championship.

Loftsson came to Oglethorpe on a foreign student exchange program as a sophomore in the fall of 2008 and was scheduled to return to Iceland following the academic year. His performance on the golf course, however, caught the eye several Division I schools with available golf scholarships. OU Golf head coach Jim Owen made phone calls on Olafur’s behalf and it wasn’t long before the “Iceman”, as he was affectionately known to teammates, had landed a full ride to compete for the 49ers of UNC-Charlotte.

The Wyndham Championship begins on Thursday and will be broadcast from on the Golf Channel from 3:00-6:00 p.m. both Thursday and Friday. If he is fortunate enough to survive the cut, Loftsson could be viewed on CBS this Saturday and Sunday from 3:00-6:00 p.m. To view the Championship website with links to a live updating leaderboard, go here.

Photo:  Loftsson shown holding up his medalist trophy after guiding the Stormy Petrels to the 2009 NCAA Championship.

Pugh Goes Pro: OU Golf Standout Sets Next Course

From playing for Petrel pride to playing for prize: Scott Pugh '11

In the world of golf, there are three major levels of play:  junior, amateur, and pro.  Only a select few college athletes who have both the talent and resources go pro—and Scott Pugh ’11 wants to join that club.

A four-time all conference player, Scott is one of three Petrels to become two-time All-Americans in the history of OU’s golf program.  He’s had the lowest scoring average on the team for the last two years, and was a major player in the Petrels’ storied 2009 NCAA Division III National Championship win.  Now, with his NCAA days behind him, he wants to focus on making it in the professional golf arena.  

Scott says he’s wanted to go pro since he was a child—back in the days when he used a make-shift golf club that his grandfather pieced together to fit Scott’s four-year-old frame.

“Although the reasons for pursuing a professional golf career have changed through the different seasons of my life, I have always wanted to play golf on the professional level,” said Scott.  “There was not a [specific] point in time [that] I realized I could play on the professional stage, but after looking back on my time as an amateur and seeing my success, [I knew] that I needed to advance to the next level—the professional level of golf.”

As part of his push to go pro, Scott’s family will host a golf tournament on July 31 to help defray the costs of his first year on tour, estimateed at $25,000.  The tournament, to be held in Carlisle, Penn., is called the Scott Pugh Project.  Scott plans to begin pro play this fall at the Peach State Professional Golf Tour, a major development tour for those at the entry level of pro golf.  There, he hopes to have at least one top-3 finish, and advance to more competitive fields.  His ultimate goal is to swing with the heavy-hitters in the famed PGA Tour, which he hopes to accomplish in one to three years.

In more than 30 years of coaching OU athletics, Coach Jim Owen said he’s had only five players attempt this route, and if anybody can make it, Scott can. Continue reading

Petrels Clinch Ninth SCAC Golf Championship, Return to Nationals

The Men's Golf team is on their way to another NCAA National Championship. Photo from gopetrels.com

The Oglethorpe University Men’s Golf team commanded the 2011 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Golf Championship over the weekend and emerged victorious, winning their ninth conference tournament at the Horseshoe Bay Resorts in Horseshoe Bay, Texas.  The Stormy Petrels posted the low round of the day (309) to finish 29 strokes clear of second place Centre.

Throughout the competition, the Petrels’ starting line-up dominated the conference scoreboard.  Craig Stevenson ’11 led the team, finishing second place inidividually and posting a three-day total of 234 (+21), earning him All-SCAC First Team honors. He was one of four Petrels to record top-10 finishes as freshman Patrick Cansfield (+30) came home 6th, Eric Quinn (+32) took 7th and Jordan Hall (+33) tied for 8th. Anthony Amodeo finished rounds two and three with successive 76’s, the best final two-day score for the Petrels.  Amodeo was later named SCAC Freshman-of-the-Year for his performance, and Cansfield, Quinn, and Hall each earned All-SCAC Second Team honors.

This win comes two years after the Men’s team clinched the 2009 NCAA National Championship in Port St. Lucie, Fla. and set OU records as the first team in Oglethorpe’s history to win a national title—-in any sport.  

In their thirteenth trip to the nationals, the men will head to Greensboro, N.C. May 10-13 for their shot at this year’s title!