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Rules of the Game

Golf is a sport in which players use a club to hit a ball lying on the ground.  The object of the game is to hit the ball starting from a teeing area into a hole in as few shots as possible. A round of golf consists of 18 holes, and most matches or tournaments are comprised of four rounds.  Two different scoring systems are most common: match play, which is based on the lowest score per hole for each player regardless of the number of shots, and medal (stroke) play, which is based on the total number of strokes each player needs to complete the round.  NCAA matches are scored using medal play.  Collegiate golf is a two season sport, with some tournaments held in the fall, followed by an NCAA championship season in the spring. 

Penn State Men’s Golf History

Although a few golf holes existed on campus as early as 1889, Penn State’s first golf course was designed by Robert B. “Pop” Rutherford Sr. in 1921; the nine-hole course was completed in 1921, and extended to eighteen holes in 1922.  The Nittany Lions played their first intercollegiate golf exhibition in 1922 against Penn, and joined the Intercollegiate Golf Association in 1923.

“Pop” Rutherford was Penn State’s first golf coach, retiring in 1949 after 28 years.  His contributions to the program from its inception are recognized through the Rutherford Intercollegiate Tournament, instituted in 1986 and hosted each spring by Penn State.  Rutherford was succeeded by his son, Robert Jr., in 1950. 

Hall of Fame member Joe Boyle took over the coaching chores in 1957.  He led Penn State to seven Eastern Championships and two NCAA Tournament appearances in his illustrious career.  This success continued under Mary Kennedy-Zierke, with three Eastern and six Atlantic 10 Championships, and an NCAA Tournament appearance.  Kennedy-Zierke also holds the distinction of coaching both the men’s and women’s teams in the 1980’s and 1990’s.  She was recognized as District II Men’s Coach of the Year in 1987 and 1991.  Her name graces the award given each year to the women’s and men’s teams’ most valuable players.

Current coach Greg Nye led the Nittany Lions into the Big 10 in 1992.

Penn State stunned the golf world in 2004, finishing second in the NCAA Eastern Regional Tournament, upsetting seven top-20 teams in the process.  Then, in the NCAA Tournament the Nittany Lions earned a 15th place finish, their highest ever, and Mark Leon set the school record with a low 72-hole score of 279.  In 2010, Penn State finished in 9th place at the Big 10 Tournament, and T. J. Howe, finished tied for 32nd at the NCAA regionals.

The team finished in 4th place at the Big Ten Championships in 2018, and at the NCAA Regionals fells shy by 3 strokes of qualifying for the NCAA Championships.  Greg Nye was named the Northeast Region Men’s Golf Coach of the Year for the 3rd consecutive season (and 11th time overall).  Cole Miller became Penn State’s 7th player to be named to the All-Big Ten 1st team, and the 5th to be a 4-time All-Northeast Region selection.  Charles Huntzinger was a 2nd Team All-Big Ten selection, and made the All-Northeast Region Team for the 3rd time.  Ryan Davis and JD Hughes were All-Northeast selections for the 2nd consecutive season.


In 2019, Penn State finished in 10th place at the Big Ten Championships.  Charles Huntzinger, JD Hughes, and Ryan Davis were all named to the All-Northeast Region Team (Penn State led the region in honorees).  Huntzinger became on the 6th Nittany Lion to be named All-Region four times.

 Penn State plays its home matches at the Blue and the White University Courses.

Team Accomplishments                                                     

Eastern Tournament Champions
1948, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1987, 1988, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997 

Atlantic 10 Champions
1983, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991

 NCAA Regional Tournament Champion – Cole Miller (2017)

NCAA Tournament
1969 (16th), 1975 (31st), 1987 (31st), 1996 (29th), 2004 (15th), 2008 (23rd), 2010 (29th), 2017 (24th)

18-Hole Best Team Score
269 (1998 Northern Intercollegiate Tournament; 2002 James Madison Invitational)

72-Hole Best Team Score
1,169 (2001 Big 10 Championships)


Robert Rutherford Sr. (1922-1949) 105-46-6

4 undefeated teams (1927, 1930, 1935, 1948)
1948 Eastern Champion

Joe Boyle (1957-1982) 197-38-1

7 Eastern Championships
22 NCAA Tournaments
Member GCAA Hall of Fame

Mary Kennedy-Zierke (1983-1992)

3 Eastern Championships
1 NCAA Tournament
1987, 1991 Region Coach of the Year     
Penn State Women’s Golf Coach (1981-1992)

Greg Nye (1992-present)

5 NCAA Tournaments (2004 - highest finish in PSU history –15th)
1993, 1994, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2016-2018 , 2017 Northeast Region Coach of the Year 

Notable Players

Dan O,Neill

1970-74 All-American
1972, 1973 Eastern Champion

Dirk Ayers

1993 Big 10 Freshman of the Year
1996 Mid-Atlantic Player of the Year
1996 All-Big 10
1993-1996 NCAA All-Region

Jason Tyska

1993 NCAA All-Region
1993 Academic All-Big 10
1st PSU Player to qualify for U.S. Open (1999, finished 53rd)  

Adam Decker

1997 Mid-Atlantic Player of the Year
1995-1997 NCAA All-Region

Matt Abbott

2000, 2001 Mid-Atlantic Player of the year
1998 - 2001 NCAA All-Region

Jim Fuller

2003 Mid-Atlantic Player of the Year
2002, 2003 NCAA All-Region
Career PSU lowest average (73.56)

Kevin Foley

2007 Big 10 Freshman of the Year
2007 2nd team All-Big 10
2009-10 1st team All-Big 10
2007-9 All Mid-Atlantic
2008-10 All-American

Cole Miller

2017 All-Big Ten, All-American

2018 1st Team All-Big Ten

2017 NCAA Regional Tournament Champion

2015-2018 All-Northeast Region

2016 PA Amateur Champion

        2017 British, U.S. Amateur participant

        2018 U.S. Open participant

Charles Huntzinger

         2016 Big Ten Freshman of the Year

         2017 All-Big Ten 1st team

          2018 All-Big Ten 2nd Team

          2016-2019 All-Northeast Region Team

 Player Recognition

Eastern Champions – Bill Davidson (1958); Bill Tabor (1964); Jim Geiger, Frank Guise (tie) (1967), Dan O’Neill (1972, 1973); Matt Shiley (1993); Dirk Ayers (1994, 1995); Adam Decker (1997); T. J. Howe (2010-tie).

Atlantic 10 Champions - Chris Keim (1988, 1989); Kyle Ross (1991); Matt Shiley (1992).

Mid-Atlantic Player of the Year – Terry Hertzog (1987); Matt Shiley (1991); Dirk Ayers (1996); Adam Decker (1997); Matt Abbott (2000, 2001); Jim Fuller (1993).

NCAA All-Region – 63 selections.

All-Big 10 – Dirk Ayers (1996); Matt Abbott (2000, 2001); Jim Fuller (2003); Mark Leon (2005); Kevin Foley (2007); Robert Rohanna (2007, 2008), Kevin Foley (2009); Charles Huntzinger (2017, 2018); Cole Miller (2017, 2018).

Big 10 Freshman of the Year – Dirk Ayers (1993); Kevin Foley (2007);; Charles Huntzinger (2016) .

 All-Americans – Bill Davidson (1959); Jim Tarbor (1963); Dave Hambly 91966); Jim Geiger (1967); Bob Hibschman (1969); Dan O’Neill (1970-73); Sherm Hostetter (1975); Gary Durbin (1979); Adam Decker (1997); Matt Abbott (2001); Mark Leon (2004), Kevin Foley (2008-2010); T. J. Howe (2010); Cole Miller (2017).

GCCA All-American Scholars-- 16 selections.


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