Sept. 11, 2003
The Navy men's golf team opens its 2003 fall
campaign Saturday, playing host to the Navy Fall Classic. Saturday and
Sunday's action will take place at the par 71 USNA Golf Course in
Annapolis with 18 holes set for both days.
The Midshipmen will field two teams - Navy Blue and Navy Gold -
in the 14-team tournament, along with Delaware, Georgetown, George
Mason, George Washington, Penn, Rutgers, St. Joseph's, Seton Hall,
Temple, Towson, William & Mary and Winthrop.
In last year's action,
Winthrop held off Navy and Towson to capture the 2002 Navy Fall Classic
by two strokes. Towson's Billy Wingerd returns to defend his individual
crown after beating Navy's Billy Hurley (Leesburg, Va.) in a
sudden-death playoff, as both players finished the two-day tournament
with a 5-under par 137.
"Winthrop will, of course, be one of the strongest teams in the
field, as will Georgetown who is loaded with talent this year," said
13th-year Navy head coach Pat Owen. "I'm looking forward to seeing us
play this weekend. We have three seniors in the starting lineup, along
with two juniors, so we have good experience."
While the Mids will field a team experienced in terms of class,
only one of the five has consistently been among Navy's top five over
the years. That individual is senior captain Billy Hurley.
member of the Mids' golf team since he walked onto the course four years
ago, Hurley had a sensational summer which included a seventh-place
finish at the Porter Cup and his highly-publicized competition at the
2003 U.S. Amateur.
After turning in a two-day 139 at the Amateur, which
included the tournament's lowest round of 65 at the Pittsburgh Field
Club, Hurley made the cut from 312 to 64 as the No. 2 seed. He would
eventually fall in the second round of match play, but not before he
made a name for himself as one of the top 32 amateurs in the country.
Playing the best golf in his career, Hurley will look to springboard his
summer success right into the fall.
"I think the other members of the team were definitely excited
for Billy and his success over the summer, particularly at the U.S.
Amateur," said Owen. "It's given them the confidence to go out and know
they can play well. Billy has been a positive presence for this team."
Joining Hurley in the lineup will be fellow seniors Joey Kistler
(Savannah, Ga.) and Rob Stochel (Crown Point, Ind.). Kistler played in
all but two tournaments last season and produced a 79.42 stroke average
for the year. Stochel, meanwhile, saw the majority of his action last
season during the fall campaign, playing particularly well at the Navy
Fall Classic. He finished in 32nd place with a 9-over par 151.
Navy juniors B.J. Brumley (Bartlesville, Okla.) and Rocky
Novellino (Bayville, N.J.) will complete the Navy Blue squad. Brumley
was a bit of an unknown, trying out late in the spring. He competed in
just two meets, including the Navy Spring Invitational where he finished
tied for 20th (+8, 148) and the Patriot League Championship where he
helped lead the Mids to their fourth league title in the last six year.
After seeing minimal action last fall, Novellino became a regular in
Navy's lineup during the spring. His best finish was at the Rehoboth
Spring Invitational where he finished tied for 42nd (+21, 165), while
his best score came at the Navy Spring Invitational where he shot a
13-over par 153. Novellino went on to play at the NCAA West Regional
with the Mids and finished tied for 128th with a 28-over par 244.
Four new faces have joined the Navy golf team this year.
Freshmen Rob Eidson (Johnson City, Tenn.), Jeremy Garner (Fayetteville,
Ga.), Michael Pierce (Houston, Texas) and Bryan Stoniecki (Montgomery,
Ill.) will vie for playing time as members of the Navy Gold team.
Stoniecki, though, has caught Owen's eye early on.
"I think Bryan Stoniecki is one of the plebes to really keep and
eye on," said Owen. "He played well in qualifying this week and there's
a good chance he good make a name for himself."
2003 Fall Schedule: Sept. 13-14 - Navy Fall Classic (Annapolis, Md.);
Sept. 22-23 - Mason Rudolph Championship (Nashville, Tenn.); Sept. 27 -
Army (Annapolis, Md.); Oct. 10-12 - Winthrop Invitational (Orlando,
Fla.); Oct. 18-19 - Service Academy Classic (Fort Worth, Texas); Oct.
26-27 - Georgetown Hoya Invitational (Lansdowne, Va.).