7/30/2009 Stephen Peed

Setting A New Course

Any duffer who has ever been stuck in an airport delay or doctor's waiting room has come across an infuriating statement of the obvious. The kind of sentence that prompts obscenity-laced internal responses in some, and the socially acceptable verbalized response of "Ya think?" in others. Take this gem from thegolfchannel.com:

"Trajectory is an essential ingredient which will help you have a successful golf experience."

It's enough to make you want to hurl your 9-iron. For the purpose of this exercise, we will eschew the smart-alecky responses and apply the site's gripping revelation to the world of Franklin & Marshall men's golf, where recently, upward trajectory has defined the experience.

In the 1980s, the Diplomats captured five Middle Atlantic Conference titles and made four NCAA Championship appearances. The 1990s passed without a conference championship. In 2000, Coach Glenn Robinson and his assistant coach, Andy Tompos '69, set out to change course. This decade has seen three Centennial Conference golf championships and a pair of NCAA tournament berths.

Robinson handed over the keys to the cart to Tompos following the 2008 season, so Robinson could focus on basketball while Tompos homed in on sharpening F&M's golf game. The move paid off. Robinson returned the Diplomat basketball team to the Final Four in 2009, while Tompos took the golfers to their second NCAA Championship tournament in three years.

Without the benefit of two of the team's top seniors, Chuck Anttonen '09 and Dennis Gunderson '09, in the lineup, the Diplomats' five survived the 36-hole cut and placed 21st at the NCAA Division III National Championships in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Four of the players who dressed for the championship will return for at least another season.

The program is poised to continue its recent success. Two players in next year's lineup, Danny Liebowitz '12 and Andrew Woods '10, were named to the PING/Mid-Atlantic All-Region team. Liebowitz was one of five golfers in the nation to be named to the All-Freshman Team after finishing in the top five in five events.

For Tompos, the team is right on pace to achieve the perfect trajectory in what is widely believed to be a golf long shot: capturing an NCAA title with a northern team.

"I don't buy into the hype that a northeastern team can't win a national championship," Tompos says. "Winning is about a mindset, not geography.

"Over the past five years, our goals have changed from being content as a contender to becoming a winner at the conference level and a contender at the national level. We have achieved that status, and now we are shifting our goal to winning a national championship."
Story 10/18/2013

Robinson Set for Pa. Hall of Fame Induction

Franklin & Marshall men’s basketball coach Glenn Robinson, the all-time wins leader in NCAA...

Read More
Story 10/18/2013

Weber Coaches U.S. Women’s Four to Gold in South Korea

Franklin & Marshall rowing coach Rob Weber (center) coached the U.S. women’s straight four...

Read More
Story 11/2/2012

A Reluctant Star

Long distances have never been much trouble for Sheena Crawley ’13, star runner for Franklin &...

Read More