‘Fab Five’s’ strong presence in men’s golf lends itself to close-knit team

Men’s golf has strong, young team that the coach hopes will continue to inspire all players to be successful, both athletically and academically

Tanner Smith

The golf team has gotten off to a strong start this season, as their “Fab Five” sophomores have propelled them to a top 10 ranking in the Division III Coaches Poll.

They’re coming off of a season in which the team finished second in the ODAC and received an at-large NCAA bid to the National Tournament. The charge has been lead so far by Brian Peccie, ’20, and Sean Puleo, ’20, who combine with Rob Quinilty, ’20, Austin Harrill, ’20, and Boyd Peete, ’20, to form the ‘Fab Five.’

Peccie has posted the low score for the team in both tournaments so far, as he shot combined 220 in three rounds. This adds up to a +4 over par in the Tournament Town Preview and a +2 in the Gordin Collegiate Classic. Puleo finished second among W&L players in both tournaments, as he posted a score of +5 in the Preview and a +10 in the Classic.

Peccie credits preparation and a lack of distractions for the uptick in his game.

“I fortunately was able to play a lot this summer,” Peccie said. “It is nice this year because last year as a freshman was kind of weird in that it was distracting being a freshman and being at college for the first time. There were a lot of distractions. You didn’t really know how to feel other than nervous and you are meeting a lot of new people and new friends. It was nice this year, though, to have a week before school where we only focused on golf so we really got a lot of good practice in.”

Peccie said the key to his game is ball striking, as his ball striking and ability to hit greens was at times inconsistent last year. He said he has really tuned that in this year, but has admired Puleo’s ability in that facet of the game for a long time.

“I talk about how ball striking is the key to my game, but Sean is the best ball-striker on the team, without a doubt,” Peccie said. “When Sean is playing you know he is going to hit greens and you know he is going to have the opportunity to go low. The x-factor for his game is his putting.”

The combined performances of Peccie and Puleo have made a big impression on Head Coach Pete Gyscek so far this season.

“Our sophomore class has really held us together this year,” Gyscek said. “Brian Peccie has been outstanding. He is ranked as one of the top players in the country right now and he has played fabulous golf. His golf I think has inspired the rest of the team. Sean Puleo I think has done the exact same thing. Together they are holding us together.”

While Peccie and Puleo may be helping to hold the team together on the course it is a team effort to hold the 12-man team together off the course.

“We are a really tight team,” Puleo said. “We are pretty close-knit and good friends. That is one of the aspects of the small team in that we are all really close. There are no enemies on the team.”

While almost all college sports teams become unified in some manner, Puleo said he thinks the nature of college golf creates a unique bond among players.

“We put a lot more time into going away; we are basically missing every weekend and getting back at midnight on Monday night,” Puleo said. “We all kind of struggle together; we are at tournaments together doing work until 1 a.m. and that is kind of how we bond and how we get through things together.”

While Puleo admits that most members of the team “don’t get much sleep,” the team has managed to maintain high academic standards, as they posted the highest collective GPA of any W&L sports team last year, at a mark of 3.72. Gyscek is not only proud of that, but also said he thinks it is a key to the team’s success on the whole.

“Our greatest asset on this team is that we are great students,” Gyscek said. “They buy in as a group, they help each other, they are very tight and it shows in every thing they do. I think golf is just secondary to that.”

The team will send individual players to play in the VSGA Intercollegiate in Richmond, Va., on Oct. 16-17. The team as a whole will next compete at the Guilford O’Briant-Jensen Memorial in Greensburo, N.C. on Oct. 23-24.