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Men's Golf Championship Begins Friday at Saucon Valley Country Club

Men's Golf Championship Begins Friday at Saucon Valley Country Club

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BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- The Ivy League Men's Golf Championship heads to the state of Pennsylvania for the very first time in 2015, as the Ancient Eight takes on the Saucon Valley Country Club.

Columbia ran away with the 2014 crown, winning by 12 strokes over Yale. 

The Bulldogs enter the championship as the top-ranked Ivy team according to Golfstat at No. 65. Yale sophomore Li Wang is the top ranked Ivy according to Golfstat and 2014 co-Player of the Year Brandon Jowers leads the defending champion Lions and currently is the second ranked player. Yale has four of the top-10 ranked players and Harvard has three.   

Here is a quick look at each of the teams:

The Bears have not finished in the top half of the championship since a second-place finish in 2007, but hope to end that trend this weekend. Justin Miller is Brown's top rated golfer according to Golfstat, sitting at No. 20. Two weekends ago at the Princeton Invitational, Miller placed 17th after rounds of 74-72=156. 

The Bears also took eighth place at the Met Intercollegiate in the beginning of April. Miller finished sixteenth while Jack Wilson placed 29th. 

The defending champs are the third-lowest scoring team in the Ivy League. The Lions placed seventh out of 18 teams two weeks ago at the Liberty Invitational. 

Jowers, the second-ranked golfer in the League according to Golfstat, paced the Lions with a 13th-place finish at Liberty, his second top-15 finish of the Spring. Mert Salamet sits at 15th among the Ancient Eight, and is one of five Lions who are in the top 20. 

Last weekend Jowers tied for sixth at the Wolfpack Spring Open, helping the Lions to sixth-place. 

Columbia is looking to be the first repeat champions since winning three in a row from 2008-10. 

Cornell was the Ivy League Championship's runner-up in 2005, but have not placed in the top half of the standings since. After a 10th-place finish at Princeton two weeks ago, the Big Red will look to change recent trends.

Sophomore Luke Graboyes is 12th-rated in the League according to Golfstat, with his freshman brother Mike Graboyes also in the top-25 at 22nd. Both brothers finished in the top 10 at Princeton, with Luke finishing fourth with a 142, and Mike tying for ninth with a 144. 

After losing the team title in a playoff in 2012, the Big Green  placed fifth and sixth at the last two Ivy League Championships. Dartmouth is the fifth-lowest scoring school heading into the Championship. 

Junior Charlies Cai and freshman Ian Kelsey are Dartmouth's highest-rated golfers at 20th and 25th, respectively. The duo both finished tied for 38th at the Princeton Invitational to lead the Big Green to finish tied for 10th.

The Crimson last won an Ivy League title in 1975, but recent success might be an indicator that this could change this weekend. Harvard is the second-lowest scoring team behind Yale.

Harvard took the best finish of the five Ivy schools that attended the Met Intercollegiate, finishing third behind Temple and Army. Sophomore Kendrick Vinar finished second overall, three strokes behind Brandon Matthews from Temple, while classmate Robert Deng tied for fourth. The Crimson also posted a top-five finish at the Seahawks Intercollegiate the last weekend in March.

Junior Rohan Ramnath is the highest rated member of the Crimson, sitting in seventh. 

The Quakers last won the title in 2012 and finished third in 2013, but last year suffered their first eighth-place finish at the Championships since 1993.

Austin Powell and 2014 second-team All-Ivy member Ben Cooley are the Quakers' top rated golfers at fifth and 11th, respectively, in the Golfstat ratings. Penn finished its regular-season Spring slate with a fourth-place finish at the Wolfack Spring Open last weekend. 

Cooley had two-straight top-15 finishes before taking 18th last weekend. Patrick O'Leary finished third overall after a two-round score of 139.

The Tigers placed fourth last year after winning the championship in 2013. Two freshmen lead Princeton this year, with Marc Hedrick and Michael Davis ranking sixth and ninth respectively in scoring, helping the Tigers be rated fourth among the Ancient Eight.  

Princeton is coming off its best performance of the year, having taken fifth at its own invitational a couple weekends ago. Quinn Prchal took the low score for the Tigers, finishing eighth overall, while Hedrick joined him in the top 10 at ninth. 

If Princeton wins this weekend, Princeton will remain the only team to win the championship outside the state of New Jersey in this millennium.

The Bulldogs last won the Ivy title in 2011 and have finished in second the last two years, including at Caves Valley in 2013, when the Tigers rallied to overcome the Bulldogs for the victory. 

The top-rated Ivy and the 65th-rated team nationally according to Golfstat, the Bulldogs took a victory at Princeton two weeks ago. Yale features four of the top eight rated players in the League in top-rated Li Wang, fourth-rated Thomas Greenhalgh, sixth-rated Will Davenport and eighth-ranked Joe Willis. All four finished in the top ten at Princeton.

The Bulldogs appear to be the team to watch for the second straight year, with five players in the top 13. Yale also grabbed a fourth-place finish at the Met Intercollegiate.