The Millersville men’s golf team won the 55th Annual IUP – Cecil C. Spadafora Invitational held at the Indiana Country Club last Sunday.
The Marauders have not won this tournament since 2007.
“We played with the fire at this tournament. We knew what was at stake,” freshman Ron Yanoski commented on the victory. “In the spring, we had average finishes as a team. We knew we could do better as a team.”
During the day, the team understood the second round would be canceled due to rain. Redshirt sophomore Matt Spak stated that head coach Scott Vandegrift told him and his teammates to play as if it was their last round.
Coach Vandegrift’s words sparked a sense of urgency for his golfers.
“We played with the attitude that this was a one-day tournament,” senior Mitch Burns said. “I think that mindset really helped us perform since we had the mindset of being unable to improve upon our rounds.”
The Marauders rose to the occasion by finishing in first place with a score of 296. The University of Charleston (West Virginia) came in second with a score of 297, just one stroke behind Millersville.
“We played better than the rest of the field by playing consistently, and grinding,” senior Connor Sheehan stated. “We needed this so much but we still have work to do.”
The win marked the first time senior Mitch Burns has been a part of a team victory. Burns stated that having the win come in his final regular-season tournament is spectacular.
In addition to the team victory, freshman Ron Yanoski individually won his first collegiate golf tournament. The second round cancellation and his outsanding first round clinched his first victory.
The Valley View, Pennsylvania native shot a score of 70 on Saturday afternoon. Yanoski mentioned that his iron play and putting guided him to victory.
Yanoski was 2-over par after the first four holes. He made two birdies at the fifth and eighth holes which brought him back to even par. He was one over on the front nine. His round remained even for the next six holes. He played his 17th hole on the par 3 10th hole where he made birdie.
With the wind in his face, Yanoski made a 25-foot putt on the par-3 third hole. After making that putt, he sensed that he had a chance to win.
“Ron had an awesome round to take the win,” Sheehan commented on the freshman from Valley View.
“I’m just so happy that I could contribute to our team and give us momentum and morale going into regionals,” Yanoski said.
Spak stated that Yanoski did not play at all in the fall. However, off-season conditioning and fine-tuning his swing allowed him to join the starting lineup for upcoming tournaments.
“Knowing that a fifth guy can come in and shoot a 70 is really good,” Matt stated. “I think we are very deep down the line and anyone can be in the lineup at this point.”
Burns and Sheehan both stated that Yanoski’s win shows an optimistic future of the men’s golf program at Millersville. Sheehan stated that the Ronnie’s win showed the ongoing improvements of the team
“I’m so proud of Ronnie (Yanoski) for getting his first win,” Burns said. “He’ll have a great career and this is the first of many for him!”
With Sheehan and Burns graduating, the team will need depth next year and for people to step up. According to Spak, Yanoski has showed that on Saturday afternoon.
The two seniors Sheehan and Burns, both finished tied for 15th going with a score 75 four over par.
Sheehan recorded a 37 on the front nine, making him two over par. He made a birdie on his final hole of the day, which was the par four ninth hole. He had five bogeys on the scorecard.
Burns, on the other hand, shot a 39 on the front nine making him four over par. he made a charge as he began the back nine. He made par on holes 10, 11 and 12. He made birdie on 13 and 15 which made him two under par. Even though he bogeyed his final two holes, Burns managed to tie his season-low round.
Junior Matt Keim finished tied for 24th with a score of 76, which made him five over par.
“It’s the first time we saw our potential,” Senior Connor Sheehan stated. “We really needed that round the show us what we are capable of.”
Even though Spak shot an 83 at Indiana Country Club, the score didn’t affect his spirit as he cheered on his teammates to finish strong as a team.
“I didn’t play too well, but I tried staying positive and giving our team energy to keep grinding and continuing to finish,” Spak commented on his performance.
Yanoski also mentioned that coach Scott is excited about the win by the freshman and the team. However, Coach Vandegrift is focused on the next page of the book.
With regionals approaching, Seniors Burns and Sheehan stated that the win gives the team momentum as regionals approaches in three weeks.
Burns would go on to say that win at this point of the season for the team means a lot because it shows them that they can play well enough to make the Division II tournament.
“I believe this team has the ability to do it and winning today with a strong field just gives us a lot of confidence heading to the regional,” Burns commented after winning the IUP Invitational on April 15.
Yanoski and his teammates are focused on playing their best golf and enjoying the experience. Spak also mentioned that him and his teammates are all feeding off the momentum with each other.
“We need to go into regionals with the same mentality of being aggressive and try to make the nationals,”