Men's spring preview: Northeast Conference
During the month of January, Golfweek will preview the spring season for each conference. Check out all of the previews here.
Today, we look at the Northeast Conference:
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5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
• Top of the class: Bryant
• Player to watch: Kyle Buschmann, Bryant: Buschmann played to a top-5 finish at the Northeast Conference Championship as a freshman, and his fall performance shows he could be ready for more.
• Freshman to watch: Anton Frondelius, Wagner: The rookie posted two top 10s in the fall, including a runner-up finish in his first collegiate tournament.
• Conference championship: May 2-4, LPGA International, Daytona Beach, Fla.
• Past champions (since 2009): St. Francis (Pa.) (2013), Mount St. Mary’s (2012), St. Francis (Pa.) (2011), Sacred Heart (2009-2010)
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(Golfweek/Sagarin rank in parentheses)
- Bryant (222): Bryant took three top 5s in the fall, including a win at the Blue Devils Fall Invitational among several conference opponents. Last year’s Northeast Conference Rookie of the Year Kyle Buschmann won the Blue Devils Fall Invitational thanks to two rounds of 68. Buschmann led the team with a 73.7 scoring average and tied for the team lead in top 10s with Joseph Walp at two. The conference is crowded, but the one-two punch of Buschmann and Walp could make Bryant the best team in the Northeast Conference.
- Central Connecticut (228): Central Connecticut took three top 5s in the fall, including the title of New England’s top team at the NEIGA Championships. Monte Mulled led the team with a 73.3 scoring average. He took two top 10s in the fall. The team will be looking to improve on its seventh-place showing at the Northeast Conference Championship last year.
- Fairleigh Dickinson (232): Fairleigh Dickinson took 3rd at the Northeast Conference Championship last year, putting three individuals in the top 10. The team will look to improve on that finish this year. It took one top 5 in the fall at the Joe Agee Invitational and won the Iona Quad Match. Junior Tom Barnes led the team with a 73.9 scoring average.
- St. Francis (Pa.) (234): The reigning Northeast Conference champs played their best golf at conference opponent Robert Morris’ tournament. The Red Flash won the Colonial Golf Classic, but did not post an additional top 5 this fall. All five of the team’s contributors from its championship return this year, including individual runner up Kevin Fawcett.
- Robert Morris (238): Robert Morris produced four top 5s in five tournaments in the fall, including a won at the Leo Keenan Invitational. Junior Santiago Mejia and sophomore Garrett Browning played well in the fall. Both players posted sub-74 scoring averages. Mejia nabbed three top 5s individually and Browning won two tournaments. The Colonials finished 4th at the Northeast Conference Championship last year.
- Sacred Heart (252): Sacred Heart started the fall with its top performance – a fourth-place finish at the Blue Devil Fall Invitational. The Pioneers played in four tournaments this fall. The team returns four of its five contributors from last year’s Northeast Conference Championship, where it finished eighth.
- Long Island-Brooklyn (267): The Blackbirds pulled out one top 5 in the fall, a runner-up finish at the Leo Keenan Invitational. Three of the six golfers on the team are freshmen one year after Long Island-Brooklyn finished second at the Northeast Conference Championship. One of the players lost from last year’s team is Josh Waters, the 2012-13 Northeast Conference individual champion.
- Wagner (291): Wagner did not go toe-to-toe with a lot of great teams in the fall, but it did see some strong individual performances. Freshman Anton Frondelius finished runner up at the Colgate Invitational and senior Eric Mathias won the Jasper Shootout in an otherwise ho-hum fall.
- St. Francis (N.Y.) (293): The Terriers finished near the bottom of the pack in all of their fall tournaments. Only one player posted a sub-80 scoring average in the fall. Three of the four fall scoring average leaders were underclassmen for the team that came in last at last year’s Northeast Conference Championship.