Though early in the season, the Youngstown State University men’s golf team has already experienced a degree of success, having won their first two tournaments.
This success is due in part to the team’s veteran experience, as the roster contains one senior and three juniors — all of whom help lead the team.
Tony Joy, the men’s golf coach, positively commented on senior Bryan Yeo’s leadership, indicating that Yeo can keep the team focused and ready for competition.
“Brian Yeo is our team captain this year,” Joy said. “Brian is a senior — he’s the lone senior on the team. He’s basically been in the program for five years. He’s kind of the guy we rely on a little bit, especially when we go on these travels.”
Three juniors — Brandon Pluchinsky, Bill Gaffney and Denis Holub — also provide leadership, and a large part of the team’s success is determined by the play of these three.
“The three juniors … really played well last year along with Bryan Yeo. Any one of those guys can go to an event and win individually. So, collectively, it really gives us a strong team,” Joy said.
The Penguins began their season at the Whistling Straits Collegiate Tournament in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, where the team had four members finish in the top 10.
This strong start comes as no surprise to Joy.
“The kids have all worked hard over the summer,” Joy said. “We’ve got a lot of good individual performances over the summer, with the kids qualifying for the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Public Links. And, Bill Gaffney was one of the top finishers in the New York State Am.”
Justin Hallapy’s performance at Whistling Straits was surprising, though. The sophomore, who sat out last season, shot a 70 in his final round to finish tied for 10th place in the tournament.
“The big surprise was Justin Hallapy from Hubbard. Justin was a walk-on freshman last year, basically redshirted,” Joy said. “The last round of 70 was a pretty incredible round especially for him — it being his first collegiate start.”
Over the weekend the team played at Joe Feaganes Marshall Invitational in Huntington, West Virginia, where the team won their second straight tournament. The last time the men’s golf team won back-to-back tournaments was the spring of 1997.
Gaffney finished second at the Marshall Invitational, and Holub and Pluchinsky both finished in the top 10. With the win at Marshall, the men’s golf team has gotten off to the best start in program history.
The golf team is ready to make another run at the Horizon League Championship. After finishing third in the championship tournament last season, the Penguins believe the talent-rich team could lead to a Horizon League title.
“We’re going back to the same course we played at last year. We’re pumped to play there again this year,” Pluchinsky said.