By James Evans
With the DeSales men’s golf team’s spring season in full swing, the team looks primed for the MAC Freedom Conference Championship on April 23 and 24.
Led by junior Dan McDonald, who has averaged just under a score of 82 over his three spring invitationals, and sophomore Ryan Gutshall (with an average of 82 in four invitationals), the team has been playing some of their best golf of late. Accompanying McDonald and Gutshall, junior Schuyler Hart (83 average in five invitationals) and freshman Chris DellaSala (86 average in five invitationals) help to anchor the young team.
The 10-man team is composed of seven players who are freshmen or sophomores, five of which are in the team’s top seven. Guiding the team is head coach Jim Booros, who this season was honored as a PGA Philadelphia Section Playing Legend. Booros, in his eighth season as head coach, hopes to instill in his young team both experience and technique, which are so crucial in a game like golf.
Booros, a player with over 10 years of experience on the PGA Tour, is “a great asset to such a young team,” said sophomore Ryan Gutshall. “He’s more of a strategic coach, who helps us navigate the course, along with helping the younger guys becoming more comfortable with their games.”
When asked about his own experiences as a freshman, junior captain Dan McDonald said, “Coming in as a freshman and playing in a collegiate match can be really nerve-wracking. But with playing experience comes the ability to think your way around the golf course.” Now with a scoring average six strokes lower than he had his freshman year, McDonald is a clear example of the potential such a young team can have.
McDonald also attributed the team’s success to “being closer [to each other in skill level] than in past seasons.” He also said that, with experience, a young team can improve their abilities by “learning to focus on the mental game as well as the physical game.”
Gutshall echoed McDonald’s thoughts, saying that having such a close team, when it comes to scoring, helps to make one “more confident going into particular situations.” Gutshall added that “With such a close team, we know that others can pick up the slack depending on who is having some trouble on a particular day.”
The team will look to improve on their seventh-place finish last year in the Freedom Championship at this season’s conference tournament in Hershey, Pa.
When asked if the team is trying to merely improve or to contend in the coming championship, Gutshall smiled, saying,“We are a team that is going to improve by contending. We’re within five strokes of our competition, and with a strong start Saturday, we feel that we can put the pressure on our opponents.”