The Youngstown State men's golf team was picked eighth in the 2019 Horizon League Men's Golf Preseason Poll after a vote of the league's head coaches, the league announced on Wednesday.
The Penguins return four golfers who competed at the Horizon League Championships last season in Kevin Scherr, Jason McQuown, C.J. Hughes and Ken Keller. Scherr earned a team-best sixth-place finish at the event with a three-round 224 (73-75-76), and was in second place after the first round of play. YSU has also added East Tennessee State transfer Zack Ford to its roster for the spring season.
YSU set a new program record for lowest 36-hole performance and had four different golfers post rounds of below 70 during the fall portion of its 2018-19 season. Scherr was YSU's top finisher in four of six events this fall including each of the final three. He earned two top-10 finishes and another in the top 15.
The record-setting 36-hole performance came on Sept. 10-11 at the Joe Feaganes Marshall Invitational at Guyan Golf and Country Club in Huntington, W. Va. The team posted a two-round 571 with rounds of 279 and 292 on the par-71 course. YSU set the previous mark of 576 at the same tournament in September of 2017. The first-round 279 ranks as the third-lowest 18-hole score in school history. It was the program's lowest single-round team score since carding a 275 at the same event during the 2015-16 campaign.
Hughes and Keller each recorded career-low rounds of 67 (-4) during the fall season. The performances are tied for the fifth-lowest rounds in program history. They are also the lowest since current assistant coach Brandon Pluchinsky shot a 65 in third round of the Cleveland State Invitational on Oct. 6, 2015.
Last year's championship runner-up Oakland was selected atop the poll with five first-place votes and 61 points. The Golden Grizzlies return First-Team All-Horizon League selection Chris Handy and second-team honoree Marc Norton from last season's team. Oakland's 73.45 adjusted scoring average was the lowest among league teams this past fall, and head coach Nick Pumford is the reigning Horizon League Coach of the Year.
Five-time defending champion Cleveland State placed second in the poll, earning two first-place votes and 49 points. The Vikings return 2018 first-team all-league and All-Tournament Team honoree Anton Krecic in 2019.
IUPUI was selected third with 47 points and returns second-team all-league and All-Tournament Team pick Nick Bienz from its squad that finished third last year. Northern Kentucky was voted fourth with 36 points, and is led by First-Team All-Horizon League honoree and last season's Championship Medalist Jacob Poore.
Wright State, which returns last season's Freshman of the Year Bryce Haney, was chosen fifth in the poll with 34 points. Detroit Mercy, which returns all-league second-team selection Scott Sparks, received one first-place vote and placed sixth with 30 points. Green Bay (18 points) and Youngstown State (13 points) were picked seventh and eighth, respectively.
2019 Horizon League Men's Golf Preseason Poll
Pl. Team - Points (First-Place Votes)
1. Oakland – 61 (5)
2. Cleveland State – 49 (2)
3. IUPUI – 47
4. Northern Kentucky – 36
5. Wright State – 34
6. Detroit Mercy – 30 (1)
7. Green Bay – 18
8. Youngstown State – 13
The Penguins will begin their spring season March 8-9 with the Jackrabbit Invitational hosted by South Dakota State at Boulder Creek Golf Club in Boulder City, Nev.
For news and updates throughout the spring season, follow the YSU men's golf program on Twitter @YSUMensGolf