By Marshall Haim
Assistant Sports Editor
This year’s men’s golf team at Canisius has lost a lot from last year. The Griffs have lost four players to graduation, and another who left the program. This year’s team brought in two freshman recruits, and a transfer from Daemen College.
The two incoming freshman recruits, Jaret Chipman and David Hanes, both hail from the area (Niagara Falls, Ontario and Elma, New York, respectively). The transfer is junior Mark Lesinski, who is also from the Buffalo area (Getzville). The team returns three players, senior Cory Cullen, junior Michael Davern, and sophomore John Dantonio.
“The biggest difficulty is getting five players back in one,” Hummel stated. “The pool of recruits is not that large and I think we did good. Another way is by transfer, and that’s how Mark came through. By getting the three, was a good fill and I think that’s good enough for this year to make a run for the MAAC Championship.”
The Griffs have played in two invitational tournaments so far on the season. Canisius placed 12th in the Alex Lagowitz Memorial Invitational, hosted by Colgate University and in last place in the Cornell Invitational that was held last weekend in Ithaca, New York. Hanes was the Griffs’ best golfer, finishing with scores of 224 in both tournaments.
“Neither one of the first two weeks is where we wanted to be,” Coach Hummel said. “Both courses were set up very difficult and I think our guys might have psychologically got themselves away from being comfortable with what they do on the course. It’s my job to get them to think in a different way in order for them to be successful because they’re just as good as the majority of those teams that are there.”
The Griffs, individually, finished in the same order for both tournaments. Hanes and Lesinski finished as the team’s best two golfers. Dantonio finished in third, while Chipman and Cullen rounded out the golfers for Canisius. Davern, who did not compete at the Colgate Invitational, finished his first 54-hole competition of his collegiate career last weekend, finishing with a score of 259.
“We do have a young team with only two seniors on the team,” Hummel said. “The best part about golf is that you have to go out and shoot numbers and it doesn’t matter how old you are. Experience can come about in different ways. [Hanes] is definitely experienced and we’re looking forward to him being here for 4 years.”
Lesinski carded three-round scores of 229 and 235 in his first two tournaments as a Griff. His 229 score at the Colgate Invitational is the best score that he has recorded for a three-round collegiate tournament since the Bucknell Invitational (Sept. 13-14, 2014) where he finished with a score of 233 as a member with Daemen’s program.
Cullen, one of the two seniors on the team this season, shot a 78 in the second round of the Cornell Invitational. The mark by the Buffalo native is the best score for a single round that he has shot since last year’s Binghamton Fall Invitational (Oct. 4-5), where he shot a 75 and 77 in the two-round invitational, where he finished tied for 2nd amongst Canisius golfers.
Dantonio, a sophomore, recorded his best ever round at Canisius in the second round of the Cornell Invitational, recording a score of 75. His best score coming into the season was at last year’s invitational at Cornell where he carded a 77, also in the second round.
The entire Griffs golf team will look to claim the Little Three Championship title for their third consecutive season next Wednesday (Sept. 28). The Griffs, along with Niagara and St. Bonaventure will participate in the annual tournament, this year being held at the Springville Country Club. Canisius has won five out of the last six tournaments and Coach Hummel hopes to claim the trophy for another year.
“We always look to win,” he stated stated. “We’re defending champions, so my expectations is that we’re going to come to the course, do our best and take home the trophy again.”