Drexel makes history, wins every event in fall schedule - The Golf Association of Philadelphia

Nov 22, 2023

Drexel makes history, wins every event in fall schedule

The Dragons are ranked inside the Top 100 in the country for first time in program history

A total of 292 colleges offer Division I golf across the country.

This fall Drexel University was the only program to go undefeated and win all of the tournaments it participated in.

Victories in the Temple Invitational, the J.T. Poston Invitational hosted by Western Carolina University, the Big 5 Championship and the ODU/OBX Intercollegiate vaulted the Dragons into the Top 100 (78) in the national rankings for the first time in program history. 

“One of the phrases we use a lot is that it takes a village to help grow our program,” coach Ben Feld, 32, of Philadelphia, Pa., said. “It takes every person involved to want more and work hard to leave the program better than it was when they arrived. We’ve been lucky to have a lot of guys take that to heart. Guys have laid down a competitive culture. The results are what people are seeing but for us we have been putting in the work daily.”

Feld is a former Dragon himself. He rolled his last putt for the Dragons as a player in 2013. He got the ultimate honor in 2016 when he was offered the head coaching job.

The Dragons were set up for success in the fall. Their top eight players returned to the team wanting more. 

“We thought it was possible to have a good season but you never know how these things will play out,” Feld said. “We knew we had the talent and did good things last year. We didn’t put the pieces together as a team. As coaches we were hard on the players to change our program. The players put in the effort to better themselves as teammates and as golfers. We knew this group had a high ceiling but we were hesitant to put high expectations on them. We wanted to judge them on the other intangibles of their hard work and not results.”

Leading the way for the Dragons this fall was 2022 Joseph H. Patterson Cup champion Drue Nicholas of Galloway National Golf Club. Nicholas led the team with a 70.1 scoring average in the fall and took individual honors at the ODU/OBX Intercollegiate.

“We did a lot of the small things well, which I think gets overlooked,” Nicholas, 21, of Egg Harbor Township, N.J. said. “The extra year of experience was invaluable for us. Golf turns into a team sport in college so getting everyone to grind hard even though they might not be playing well is important. As far as Drexel goes, it feels good to be a part of something like this. Who knows if it will ever happen again. I think people who played at Drexel or will in the future will look back on it with great appreciation.”

“As a coach it was surreal,” Feld, of Green Valley Country Club, said. “I’ve been in some tight battles like we had but I had complete confidence and belief in my guys to do what needed to be done. They executed at a high level. Seeing how the tone is when people talk about our program now means a ton to me and everyone at Drexel. We have commanded respect from our peers and there’s a lot of pride for us because it wasn’t always that way.”

Drexel won each of the four events by at least three shots. Highlighted by its 13-shot victory in the final event of the season at Old Dominion University.

“The wins at Western Carolina and Old Dominion were what I’ll remember,” Feld, the 2017 GAP Middle-Amateur Champion, and frequent GAP competitor, said. “I remember the calm I felt coming down the stretch. I had the confidence that we were built for those moments. The Outer Banks tournament hosted by Old Dominion is one we have been playing in well before my time. They hand out a packet of information with past results and we were usually near the bottom. To come away with the win down there in a run away fashion was a program-stamping win for us. It felt like an arrival.”

Rising up the ranks in college golf is all about the opportunities you get and teams you play. This fall could be what Drexel needs to keep testing itself against the best programs in the country.

“This gives us a lot more avenues and opportunities,” Feld said. “We’ve had a story to tell the past few years to help us get into some prestigious events. Our guys want the at-bats against the best teams in the country. That’s good and well but those tournaments have to give you that chance. Hopefully this will allow us to create opportunities for our guys now and in the future.”

Feld and the Dragons will have some time off before heading to Puerto Rico the second week of February to kick off the spring season.

“A break right now is critical for the guys,” Feld said. “We’ll stay in the weight room this winter and  put the clubs away. Around the holidays we try to recharge and get the juices flowing again. We have to put the fall behind us and prepare at an elite level to get ready for the challenging spring we will have.”

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