On Monday, new Penn men’s golf coach Bob Heintz got the response he was looking for.
The Quakers won the Rehoboth Beach Invitational in Rehoboth Beach, Del., finishing first in an 11-team field after coming in third in last year’s tournament. Penn shot a two-round 578, including a two-under-par performance in the second round.
“We have a plan for how they’re going to play a golf course and go out and do it,” Heintz said after collecting his first win as a head coach. “They did that today, and I was very proud of them.”
Senior captain P.J. Fielding finished first individually, shooting five under par for the day. Freshman P.J. Collier tied for second individually.
“I’ve just been working on my game and finally got my putting game to turn around,” Fielding said.
Although Mount St. Mary’s led the field after the first round, no team could match the Quakers’ outstanding second round, and Penn won by 20 shots over second-place Monmouth. Against a field full of Division III schools, though, Heintz anticipated nothing less than a victory.
“We really lived up to the expectations of everybody there and ourselves,” he said.
But the win was all the more impressive when you consider the transition through which the team has gone this month. While other students were busy picking up new syllabi on the first day of classes, the Quakers learned who their new coach would be after finding out about Scott Allen’s departure only a month prior.
“The transition has gone really well,” junior Max Marsico said. “Coach Allen was a really nice guy and stuff, but there seems to be a lot more hard work and focused practices in the first two or three weeks that [Heintz] has been here.”
“I think the team has responded well to a little more structure in practice that coach Heintz has put in,” Fielding said. “We pay a little more attention to coach Heintz and are a little more engaged because he’s been out there playing.”
Heintz certainly has the rich golf background to command such authority. He played on the PGA Tour for six years and won three individual titles during his collegiate career at Yale. Scott Allen played college golf at George Washington, where he was captain for three seasons.
“I’ve been in their shoes, so every mistake that these guys make, I’ve made 10 times myself,” Heintz said. “So the advantage is I can get in there and point out what’s going on. Maybe they only have to make the same mistake three times when I made it 10. Once they get comfortable playing in front of me and not worry about what I say or think, they’re going to actually have a little more confidence knowing I’m behind them.”
With several players from last year’s Ivy championship run and NCAA regional appearance, Marsico knows how talented the Quakers can be. But the early stages in Heintz’s tenure have him feeling more optimistic than ever.
“With coach Allen, we weren’t the most serious when we practiced,” Marsico said. “And I’m not saying this to be mean to coach Allen. But he didn’t have the player background coach Heintz does, in terms of knowing what you really have to do to get good.
“You can read about it, you can talk about it, but someone who’s been through the process, I think they kind of have a different perspective on what hard practice is as opposed to someone who just kind of played golf for fun.
“I think [Heintz] understands how to get us all to where we want to be in the next couple years.”
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