Golf returned to Seton Hall for the 2016-17 season with events this weekend for the men’s and women’s programs.
Both teams featured plenty of new and familiar faces, as the programs will look to build on, some of the many positives of last season.
The men’s golf team will be led my senior Lloyd Jefferson Go, a three-time All-Big East team member and the first Pirate to qualify for NCAA regionals last spring. He also won the individual title at the Big East Championship.
Go will be expected to lead the Pirates, and that he did, shooting a 7-under to help SHU finish second at the Doc Gimmler Invitational September 10-11.
Complementing Go will be the sophomore duo of Gen Nagai and Chris Yeom. The two finished second and fourth on the team in stroke average as freshmen, and started this 2016-17 season in stride.
Yeom shot a 2-under and Nagai shot a 1-under. For Yeom it was a particularly special weekend as he kicked off his sophomore campaign with career numbers and a hole-in-one.
Chris Yeom described the difference of this season to last.
“I feel like I’m more experienced and that I’ve matured more,” Yeom said. “Heading into tournaments I’m more prepared. I didn’t feel too comfortable last fall, but certainly this fall, this year, I feel more comfortable and I feel like I have more confidence.”
In addition, the men’s team boasts the likes of transfer junior Linus Yip, who shot a 1-over. Senior Kevin O’Brien brings a veteran presence, and incoming freshmen Alex Chalk and Alex McAuley from Britain offer bright prospects for the future.
On the women’s side, junior Cassie Pantelas is poised for a similar breakout that Go endured last season. She earned second team All-Big East honors last season, but still confessed that she was not at her best, and intends to take big steps forward.
“I put a little bit of unwanted pressure, that I didn’t need and the team didn’t need, on myself to try to perform,” Pantelas said. “I think once all that settled down, and we got through the fall and spring. Once everybody realized that we’re just here to play golf, have fun, and be a team, we were able to pull through with some of the better results we had.”
Pantelas has already got off to a flying start with a 7-over par, which included an even round on Monday, September 11 to lead the Pirates to the tournament title at the William and Mary Invitational.
Alongside Pantelas will be a plethora of freshmen. Lizzie Win made a great introduction to her Pirate career, shooting only a stroke behind Pantelas.
Fellow freshmen Maddie Sager was not far behind at 10-over, while Sammie Staudt shot a respectable 18-over in her first collegiate tournament.
“I knew they were going to be strong as recruits,” head coach Clay White said. “Then just to see it actually play out, and see how mentally strong they are; coming out in their first tournament and not being phased by the 36-hole day, which is hard, it’s really good to see.”
Additional veteran presence is found in junior Macky Fouse and sophomores Jamie Greene and Gianna Tomeo.
Fouse has shown steady improvement each season, and shot one of her better career numbers at the first tournament of the season.
Tomeo’s freshman season gave limited opportunities, but her 21-over par at the Low Country Intercollegiate showed potential. Same goes for Greene, who showed flashes last season.
The women’s team continues play on Sept. 16 and 17, when they will compete in the Rutgers Invitational. The men’s team will go for its first win of the season on Sept. 19 and 20 at the Hartford Hawks Invitational.
James Justice can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @MLStakeover.