-By Scott Eddy, Director of Athletics Communications
Over the past week, St. Bonaventure golf head coach Ryan Swanson had his team take part in three qualification rounds to help set his lineup for the season-opening event Sept. 8-9 at Colgate.
His Bonnies did not make the decision process an easy one.
With just two players exempted from the qualification process thanks to their standout play last season – senior Brent Morgan and sophomore Danny Gianniny – three spots were left up for grabs. The resulting three rounds at three different area courses saw multiple Bonnies go low with impressive scores, leaving Swanson and assistant coach Josh Stauffer forced to leave out a couple players who in other years had done more than enough to qualify.
And while that will be the lineup for the first tournament, the depth of this year's roster ensures that more jostling for spots will continue throughout the fall.
"We're incredibly deep. There will be a lot of tough choices and more qualifiers probably this year than we've ever had before because we will always have guys sitting at home knocking on the door for a chance," Swanson said. "(Senior) Dylan Glatz finished seventh in qualifying and if he shot those scores a couple years ago he would've been our No. 3 man. It shows how far we've come in the past two years."
Last season was one to remember for the Bonnies – three tournament victories, a win in the first-ever edition of The Murray Cup vs. Franciscan rival Siena and a third-place finish in the Atlantic 10 Match Play Championship, best in school history.
Morgan was outstanding, especially in the spring when he posted an average round score of 74.3 over 12 rounds. His season was highlighted by a tie for second in the 126-player field at the prestigious Kingsmill Intercollegiate in March. In all, he claimed five top-15 finishes.
Gianniny burst onto the scene as a freshman, earning four Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week honors to tie the program record. He fired an average score of 75.8 over the course of the season and finished in the team's top three in every event except for last year's season-opener.
"They're both guys that when they get into tournament mode that's when they're at their best," Swanson said. "It's a different atmosphere and those guys handled it the best last year."
Abendroth earned a roster spot after playing in nine events as a junior with an average score of 76.9 during the spring season. He took three top-20 finishes including a tie for sixth in St. Bonaventure's team victory at the Towson Spring Invitational.
Chaddock played in 11 events as a sophomore and was at his best in the fall when he averaged 75.5 over 12 rounds. He finished his season with a final round 74 in the Atlantic 10 Championship. The Fillmore, N.Y. native finished with the low three-round score during pre-season qualifications and became the first player to ever win the Southwestern New York-Northwestern Pennsylvania Men's Amateur Tournament twice by the age of 20 when he took his second win this summer.
"Abo has been consistent for a couple of years and Chaddock has it going now," Swanson said. "I told Zach that he needs to become 'the guy' this year. I think he's up for it, to take that next step from his first two years."
Geise, in his second year with the program after coming to St. Bonaventure from San Diego, played in three events as a freshman and earned a spot in the lineup through strong play in qualifications.
"Jack has worked hard all year and it has paid off. I really like what we've seen out of him through qualifying," Swanson emphasized. "Coming from California and doing everything we've asked over the last year, we just can't say enough about it. He was on the outside looking in last year and just kept working."
Junior Nolan Ditcher has also been a mainstay in the lineup the past two years, playing in all seven events last fall and also in eight events as a freshman. Glatz enters his senior season after playing in three events last year, including a tie for second at the Little Three Championship. Josh Roselli is also a senior and in his fourth season with the program.
Two newcomers join the roster as well, freshmen Andrew Lemay and Erik Stauderman, who just missed the cut for the lineup in qualfications. The Poughkeepsie native will be the team's sixth player at next week's Little Three where the lowest five scores count.
"He will get his chance; he's as good as anyone we've got," Swanson said of his first-year player. "I'm really excited to watch him grow and help us during his time here."
Once the season begins, the Bonnies will hit the ground running with five events in the first month – the season-opening Alex Lagowitz Memorial at Seven Oaks Golf Club in Hamilton, N.Y. this weekend; the Little Three Championship next Tuesday at Crag Burn Golf Club in East Aurora; the Cornell Invitational Sept. 15-16; the Inverness Intercollegiate in Toledo Sept. 24-25 and the Mathews Auto Collegiate Invitational at the Links at Hiawatha Landing in Apalachin, N.Y. Sept. 30-Oct. 1. The Murray Cup follows on Oct. 2 vs. Siena in Albany and the fall concludes with the Georgetown Intercollegiate in Beallsville, MD Oct. 15-16.
"It's going to be a crazy six weeks. You jam-pack a fall schedule and try to get the best weather you can," Swanson said. "These guys prepared all summer for the grind and they're up for the challenge. We have one goal and that's to have a chance to win on the back nine of tournaments. If we do that we are going to win our share of tournaments."
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