This week, The Lafayette sits down with sophomore golfer, Brendan Cronin, winner of the Alex Lagowitz Memorial Invitational and top-15 finisher in the Patriot Intercollegiate.
Morgan Maves: The golf team has two tournaments / invitationals under their belt, how do you think [the team is] doing thus far?
Brendan Cronin: I think that so far, we have proven [that] we are a team that can compete at every tournament we go to. The first tournament at Colgate got the ball rolling and really proved to all our guys that we can do something special this year. Our second tournament may not have been our best but we were only a few shots away from competing for top three. The depth of our team this year has been the best in my two years at Lafayette and has definitely benefitted us so far.
MM: Although you’re still early into your season, [which freshmen] stand out and why?
BC: All the [freshmen] are great players that can help our team every tournament. Qualifying for tournaments has been much harder this year due to the depth of our freshman class. Ryan Tall and Kazuki Osawa have been great additions to the team and really have propelled us forward as a group. Along with Ryan and Kazuki, TJ Repczynski and Drew Steiner have added another level of competition to the team that pushed everyone to play better. We are sending all four freshman up to Binghamton this week to compete together. I can see great things in our [freshmen] class in the years to come.
MM: What has been your mindset going into this season? Has it changed from last year?
BC: My mindset has definitely changed this year. Last year I put a lot of pressure on myself to play well and be the standout freshman on the team. But this year I told myself that I just want to enjoy every moment I have playing golf in college. I allowed myself to be relaxed and just have fun. It worked for me in the first tournament after rounds of 66-69-71 and the second tournament with rounds of 72-72.
MM: You had an outstanding performance at your season opener, the [Alex] Lagowitz [Memorial Invitational]. How did that performance affect the motivation and excitement for you and your team?
BC: The team was ecstatic about my win and also the team’s win. It was great to see all our hard work pay off as a team. We had a very good feeling about the team this year and we knew we could win a tournament, we just didn’t think it would happen so fast. As a team we cannot take the rest of the year off and not produce more great rounds. We need to keep the motivation up and continue to practice hard and stay focused.
I didn’t even know If I was going to play golf in college, [especially] not the D1 level. I started playing golf in 8th grade and just grinded every year and summer to be the best golfer I could be. It was amazing to see all the long hours at the course and days grinding pay off. It was rewarding not only for myself but also my parents who put a lot of time and effort to get me to where I am today. I thank them and appreciate everything they have done for me.
MM: How have you grown as an athlete, leader, and teammate since last year?
BC: Now that I am an upperclassman, I have a perspective on the team that I didn’t have as a [freshman]. I just want to be the best role model for our first years and teammates that I can be. All it takes is one person to change the culture and determination of a team. I think that I tend to be a leader by example. I want to always be putting in my best effort at practice and staying focused on our next goal as a team.
MM: How do you prepare for a tournament or invitational?
BC: My preparation for a tournament usually is done in our practice round. Before every tournament we get a one-day practice round that allows us to see the course we are playing. During this time, we plot and plan our way of attacking the 18 holes and develop a game plan. Once you have determined the game plan you want to take you put it into play the next day during competition.
MM: What is the team dynamic like?
BC: Our team is awesome. We have a great group of guys that all get along perfectly. Everyone wants everyone to be successful on and off the course and are there to congratulate each other on great rounds of golf. It’s awesome having 12 other teammates who want to see you play well but also want to beat the crap out of you. It creates great team competition and just makes everyone better.
MM: What’s your favorite golf course to play on?
BC: My favorite golf course that we play on during the season is Hamilton Farms GC during the Presidents Cup vs. Lehigh. We have the privilege of playing their 18-hole course and their 18-hole par 3 course in a consolation rivalry match vs. Lehigh. That is always a spectacular and beautiful course. My favorite course I have ever played though is Torrey Pines, CA. I played in the IMG World Junior Championship a couple years ago and it was right along the ocean in southern California. One of the most calm and beautiful courses I have ever walked.
MM: What has been your best golf moment since being at Lafayette?
BC: My best golf moment was seeing our team win for the first time since I have been on the team. It was a great day for our team and a huge step for our program.