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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Youth plays a big role for men’s golf team

    While many people look at freshmen athletes as young and inexperienced, the Arizona men’s golf team doesn’t see it that way. As one of the younger teams in the nation, the Wildcats have nine freshmen on the 16-man squad, many of whom have played huge roles this season.

    Freshmen Roberto Galletti and Tarquin MacManus are two of the best players on the team and throughout the country. Galletti won the Del Walker Intercollegiate tournament in Long Beach, Calif., finishing as the individual leader at 9-under-par. MacManus has played in six events with two top-10 finishes and two top-20 finishes.

    “”The younger guys have played exceptionally well,”” said junior Tyler Neal.

    As the Wildcats enter the home stretch of the second half of the season, starting today at the John Burns Invitational at Leilehua Golf Course in Wahiawa, Hawaii, the young players are going to have a huge impact.

    The tournament is a 54-hole event taking place over three days consisting of 20 teams that will compete as they head into the final tournaments before the postseason.

    The Wildcats will send out their normal five in senior Creighton Honeck, juniors Neal and Nick Park and MacMannus and Galleti. Coming off of a shaky home tournament – placing fourth out of 16 teams – at the end of January, the team feels confident that it can bounce back on a golf course it has historically played quite well at.

    “”We had a great practice round,”” said assistant coach John Knauer. “”We have been here a lot and we have a good idea of what to expect from the golf course.””

    Knauer has been working with these freshmen all year and is not surprised with their performance.

    “”I’m not surprised because we know what we’re getting coming into the season,”” he said.

    Other freshmen on the team that have performed well are Tom Conran, Andrew Kelly and Jonathan Khan. They have started to come into their own this year, developing future leaders on the golf course.

    It’s not so much the help on the course that the freshmen look up to the seniors for, but the guidance they provide off the golf course that allows the team to work together so well.

    “”It comes down to very small details,”” Knauer said. “”Two of our freshmen don’t have cars and without asking, Honeck and Neal were the first guys to pick them up and always take care of them.””

    As far as coaching the young freshmen, Knauer said each golfer is assessed on an individual basis to determine how they are adjusting to being on the team and from there, the coaches make appropriate alterations.

    Knauer said the biggest thing the younger guys could take away from this year in order to guarantee success in the future years is what coach Knauer called getting “”golf-wiser.””.

    “”It’s not something that you can explain, only something that you can see,”” Knauer said. “”It happens when they understand what you are trying to do to make them smarter. Some of the smarter guys just approach holes differently than others and that is where you can really see it.””

    These freshmen have definitely gotten “”golf wiser”” over the year and have become some of the top competitors in the nation.

    “”Next year these guys are going to be really good,”” Honeck said.

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