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Westminster lands top spot on PAC men's golf preseason coaches' poll

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Westminster lands top spot on PAC men's golf preseason coaches' poll

GREENVILLE, Pa. ( securing its fourth Presidents’ Athletic Conference (PAC) Championships team title last spring, the Westminster College men's golf program has been selected as the league favorite in 2021-22, according to the league's annual preseason coaches' poll. The results of this year's poll, voted on by the conference's seven head coaches, were revealed with the PAC's Players to Watch List Friday afternoon. 

Westminster, led by ninth-year head coach Matt Torrence, claimed six first-place votes and 60 total points to top this year's poll. 

Last spring the PAC Championships featured a 36-hole stroke play event. The first round was played on Monday, April 19 at Avalon Lakes in Warren, Ohio. The men played their final 18 holes on Saturday, April 24 at Oglebay Resort’s Speidel Golf Club with a round on the Robert Trent Jones, Sr. course.

Westminster finished the two championship rounds with a team score of 599 (293-306) and carried a nine-stroke lead into the second round. 

As the winner of the PAC title last spring, Westminster earned the conference's automatic-qualifying bid to the NCAA Division III Championships. The Titans, making just their second all-time appearance at the Division III Championships, finished ninth in the 18-team field. It was the first time in program history Westminster made the cut and finished in the top 10. 

Last year's Division III Championships were contested at Oglebay Resort and hosted by Bethany College and the PAC. 

Washington & Jefferson College and seventh-year head coach Matt Kluck finished second in the preseason coaches' poll, earning the final first-place vote and 53 total points. W&J was the runner-up at last spring's conference championships  (621, 302-319). The Presidents own a PAC-best 20 conference titles. 

Thiel College posted 48 points to finish third and was followed by Grove City College in fourth (46), Saint Vincent College in fifth (40) and Waynesburg University in sixth (36). Geneva College, sponsoring a men's golf program for the first time in 2021-22, finished seventh (32). 

The players to watch list includes a pair of All-PAC First Team selections, five All-PAC Second Team selections and four All-PAC Honorable Mention selections from last spring. 

Westminster senior Michael Bell (Canonsburg, Pa. | Peters Township) headlines this year's players to watch list. Bell was the individual runner-up at the conference championships last spring, finishing a stroke behind W&J's Garrett Barilar (Bloomsburg, Pa. | Central Cambria) with a two-round score of 148 (69-79).  

The players to watch list includes five members of the 2020-21 PAC Academic Honor Roll, which recognizes student-athletes on varsity sports teams who have earned a grade-point average (GPA) of 3.6 or higher on a 4.0 scale during their semester of competition. 

This year’s PAC Championships will feature a 54-hole stroke play event, beginning with 36 holes played Wednesday-Thursday, October 13-14 at the Avalon Golf and Country Club. The women will play a pair of rounds at Squaw Creek Golf Course in Vienna, Ohio, while the men will complete two rounds at Avalon Lakes.  

The final 18 holes of this year’s men's championship will wrap up Saturday, April 23, 2022 at Oglebay Resort’s Speidel Golf Club with a round on the Robert Trent Jones, Sr. course. The final 18 holes of the women's championship are scheduled to be contested Monday, April 25 at Cedarbrook Golf Course in Belle Vernon, Pa.

The All-PAC teams, along with the PAC Players of the Year and PAC Newcomers of the Year, are determined by the combined 54-hole scores from the fall and spring championships. The All-PAC teams are made up of the top 15 overall scorers (5 first team, 5 second team, 5 honorable mention). The combined 54-hole team totals determine the PAC team champions and winners of the league's automatic qualifying bids to the Division III Championships.

Team selections for the Division III Championships will be announced Monday, May 2. The Division III Championships are scheduled for May 10-13 at the Mission Inn Resort and Club in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla. 

2021-22 PAC Men's Golf Preseason Coaches' Poll (Predicted order of finish)
School (first-place votes)Points2020-21 PAC Championships finish
1. Westminster College (6)601st (of 6), 599
2. Washington & Jefferson College (1)532nd (of 6), 621
3. Thiel College484th (of 6), 663
4. Grove City College463rd (of 6), 634
5. Saint Vincent College405th (of 6), 686
6. Waynesburg University366th (of 6), 709
7. Geneva College32First-year program

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