By Joshua Fitch
The Youngstown State University Men’s Golf team opened the 2018 season in Verona, N.Y. last weekend during the Turning Stone Tiger Intercollegiate tournament hosted by the University of Missouri. The Penguins placed 10th in the event.
Leading the way for the Penguins was senior Jason McQuown, who shot 72-77-70 in three rounds, and finished tied for 13th in the tournament. Sophomore Kevin Scherr shot a 224 for the event including three birdies and 13 pars. Scherr finished tied for 27th.
The Penguins will have quick turnaround in Henryville, Indiana for the Fuzzy Zoeller Intercollegiate hosted by the University of Indiana which begins on Sept. 8. Normally there’s more time in between tournaments at the start of the season but head coach Tony Joy thinks it can only benefit his players.
“It’s really good for the young players,” Joy said. “It gives them time to work on their game and get their numbers up. The freshmen will push others to play better.”
Now in his 35th season coaching the Penguins golf program, Joy has seen it all. His experience alone gives his players an advantage not only on the course, but with the overall grind that comes with playing golf.
“He’s really knowledgeable,” McQuown said. “Just to talk about everyday things, he’s personable about that. He’s comfortable with the whole process and all the stuff that people don’t realize go into golf. He understands what we have to do in order to play our best.”
McQuown is one of just two seniors on the roster, and while this will be his last year with Youngstown State, he’s trying not to think about how fast the time has gone, but instead to focus on his role as a senior athlete.
“It’s definitely in the back of my mind,” McQuown said. “When I was a freshman, we had seniors that were really good. We have these sophomores and freshman that are really good, so I’m trying to take the pressure off of them. I’m trying to be a leader, but the time does go fast.”
The freshmen are Bryan Kordupel, Derek Miller and Brian Terlesky. Kordupel made his YSU debut on Sept. 1. He shot 77-81-77, finishing with a 235.
Both Kordupel and Terlesky are graduates of Boardman High School, while Miller graduated from James A. Garfield High School as a two-time team captain.
While preparing for a season that contains six tournaments and 12 events overall, Youngstown State’s resources pay dividends during the offseason for the team and individually.
“It’s more on your own, but we’ll have practice,” McQuown said. “We’ll go to the WATTS center. We have our putting green up there. We just hit different yardage. I think it’s good because not a lot of teams in our conference have a facility like that. It’s definitely an advantage because the winters around here aren’t ideal.”
The Penguins will play two more tournaments out of state before the Firestone Invitational, hosted in Akron, Ohio on Oct. 1 and 2.
Following the Firestone Invitational, the Penguins will travel to Westlake, Ohio for the Tom Tontimonia Invitational. After that, they close out the season in Highland, Mich. at the Detroit Titans Motown Tournament before the conference championship.
Despite a lot of travel, time and hard work, this team is ready for the challenge and for a chance to be great in 2018.
“There’re long hours but you just have to concentrate on what you’re working on and put something together,” McQuown said. “We all have the talent and there’s a lot of competitiveness within the group which makes us all better.”
The competitiveness, drive and effort are what it takes to be successful in golf, and Tony Joy believes each member of his team is here for a reason.
“They’re all in,” Joy said. “Not just to be a part of the golf program. They’re in it to win it.”