For most collegiate athletes, being named to your sport’s All-Conference Team represents one of the highest accolades one can obtain during a four-year career. It would be easy, then, for an athlete to rest on his or her laurels having reached that peak their junior year.
Men’s golfer Chris Yeom, however, was just getting started.
The senior from Flushing, N.Y., who was an all-Big East first team member last year, has taken his talents to record-breaking heights this fall. After a strong finish in the season-opening Alex Lagowitz Memorial Tournament, Yeom was determined to improve as his final season kicked into gear.
“At Colgate, I was hitting the ball really well, but my putting was really bad,” Yeom said. “To prep for [the Hartford Hawks Invitational], I was really focusing on my putting, trying things out. I knew if I could improve my putting just a little bit, I could be in contention.”
Yeom certainly wound up in contention. He shot an 8-under-par (67-69-136) to break Seton Hall’s all time two-round record score, beating former Seton Hall star Lloyd Jefferson Go’s mark by two strokes.
Yeom also finished a single stroke off the best individual score in the highly competitive 20-team field. With Yeom pacing the team, the Pirates finished third overall.
“Right off the bat at Hartford, I was hitting it way better than at Colgate,” Yeom said. “My putting improved a little, but I was shooting so close to the hole that I was able to shoot much lower scores.”
His 5-under-par in the opening round put both the Pirates and himself into contention as the second round teed off.
Yeom followed his record performance with another leading effort at the Villanova Invitational last weekend, again finishing in the top-10. His performances got him recognized as Big East Men’s Golfer of the Week and his driven mentality should lend itself to continued improvement and success as the season rolls on.
Still, it has not always been a smoothly paved path to accolades and records for Yeom.
“The first year was the biggest transition for me,” Yeom said. “I didn’t know what to expect, and little things like doing your own laundry and being away from home made it difficult to adjust.”
Yeom said that learning to adjust and improve little by little has helped him tremendously both in school and on the golf course.
While the senior has gained experience and grown as an athlete and as an individual over his time in school, his recent achievements have been followed by a new challenge for Yeom.
“I know at tournaments that I need to perform to a certain standard, and that if I don’t achieve that standard I’ll let my team down,” Yeom said bluntly. “It’s always on my mind a little bit, but I keep telling myself to have fun and engraving that into my head helps me every tournament.”
Yeom has proven his ability to rise to any occasion at the collegiate level, and upon graduation in May, he will seek to prove he replicate that at the professional level.
“My main goal is to get onto a tour and build experience, and I’m planning out the necessary steps to achieve that goal,” Yeom said. “My parents are really committed to this, so it’s nice to have that support… There are so many options and I think a lot of times people think there is only one route. There are so many different paths to the top.”
Kyle Beck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. or on Twitter @notkylebeck.