Led by a pair of record-breaking seniors, the Gettysburg College men’s golf team heads to the NCAA Division III Championship for the first time in over two decades beginning this week at the Keen Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.
Gettysburg will compete in the NCAA Championship on May 14-17. It will be the program’s first appearance on the national stage since 1994, a full three years before either of its two star seniors – Danny Harcourt and Dane Sethre-Hofstad – were even born.
Harcourt and Sethre-Hofstad are excited about making their national debuts, but that excitement hasn’t waylaid their preparation heading into the four-day event. It’s been business as usual for the intrepid seniors and their three teammates making the journey alongside them.
“At the end of the day it is just another tournament,” said Sethre-Hofstad. “It’s obviously a much bigger one on a grander scale, but it is just another tournament so you don’t want to change too much. The past few days have been pretty hectic with finals week, but it’s about that last-minute grind, hitting balls, eating healthy, getting a lot of rest, and preparing ourselves as best we can.”
From the outset of the season back in September, Harcourt and Sethre-Hofstad have set the tone for a record-breaking campaign. The pair have combined to win medalist honors at seven events and have posted two of the lowest scoring averages in program history with Harcourt breaking his own record with 72.8 and Sethre-Hofstad posting the lowest mark by anyone but his classmate at 74.7. Harcourt and Sethre-Hofstad share the record for lowest single round score (67) and rank first (74.3) and second (75.5), respectively, in career scoring average at Gettysburg.
Behind their two leaders, the Bullets claimed a record 10 team championships and shattered the program’s previous single-season scoring mark with an average of 302.5 in 2018-19. The Bullets also set a new program standard for a single round with a 285 at the Moravian Spring Invitational on April 11. The season culminated in the program’s first Centennial Conference title in 17 years as Gettysburg erased a 15-stroke deficit on the final day of competition.
“It was an amazing feeling,” said Harcourt, who became Gettysburg’s first conference medalist in eight seasons. “We always know we can do it, it’s just a matter of when it shows up. Obviously at conferences it showed up at the right time. It was the most fun championship I have ever been a part of in my life and we felt like kings walking off the course.”
Harcourt led all three days on the way to the individual title, while Sethre-Hofstad closed the event with the lowest final round in tournament history, shooting a three-under 68 to finish runner-up.
The conference championship secured an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship at Keen Trace Golf Club this week and the Bullets are prepared to make a stand alongside 42 of the best golf teams in the country.
Joining Harcourt and Sethre-Hofstad at this week’s national tournament will be sophomores Daniel Rieger and Quinn Greene and freshman Tristan Hochman. Both Rieger and Greene have improved their stroke averages in their second go-arounds, while Hochman picked up steam at the end of the regular season and closed the conference championship with a personal-best 73 on the final day.
Beginning with Tuesday’s first round, half the teams will play the Champions Trace Course while the other half will compete at Keene Run. Teams will flip courses in Wednesday’s second round. Following the first 36 holes of play, the top 18 teams on the leaderboard — plus the six individual golfers — will continue on into the final two rounds of play, scheduled for Thursday and Friday.
“Our first goal is to make the cut,” stated Sethre-Hofstad. “I absolutely believe we can. We’re one of the best teams that’s there. If we don’t get ahead of ourselves and just play our game we’re going to do fantastic.”
“We need to go out there and play and control what we can control,” added Harcourt. “We need to tear up the par fives and make our pars on the par threes and par fours. That’s what really separates the best from the rest.”
Harcourt was named All-America Honorable Mention following last season, but the only Gettysburg player to earn national honors at the NCAA Championship was Guillermo Nakada ’95, who finished 18th out of 120 competitors in 1994. As a team, the Bullets placed 17th in their only other national appearance 25 years ago.
For Harcourt and Sethre-Hofstad, leading the team to the top of the standings is the first and foremost goal, but the pair would also like to climb atop the individual standings and close out their national debuts the same way the ended their Centennial careers.
“I feel like it’s been a long time coming for Dane and I,” said Harcourt. “We feel like we’re two of the best players in the country and now we finally have our opportunity. We know that we’re solid enough players to compete and to win it. I hope we finish 1-2 in the individual standings and one of us comes home with the individual title.”
For the first time in conference history, both men’s and women’s programs will be headed to the national stage in the same season as Gettysburg’s women’s team will compete at the NCAA Division III Championship for the sixth consecutive season at the Bay Oaks Golf Club in Houston, Texas. The two programs share usage of the Trackman Golf Simulator and both call nearby Hanover Country Club home.
“I was really proud of them when they won for the ninth year in a row,” said Sethre-Hofstad. “It’s really cool to be the first team in the Centennial Conference to have both the women and men going in the same year. Unfortunately we’ll be at different venues, but we’ll be wishing them luck from Kentucky and they’ll be wishing us luck too.”
Gettysburg tees off Tuesday morning at 8:20 a.m. Follow live results and visit the tournament’s home page for the latest updates and information.