May 4, 2011
By Evan Marot
DARTMOUTH -- UMass Dartmouth junior Nick Jagoe reached a new plateau in his golfing career last fall as the Corsairs golf team, with Jagoe's considerable assistance, won the Greater Northeast Athletic Conference Championship.
The championship event was played on October 30-31, with the team battling to a two-day total of 652, leaving them a whopping 16 strokes in front of Johnson & Wales, which came in second at the event. The win qualified the men's team to play in the NCAA Div. III National Championships on May 10-13 in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Jagoe has been a familiar name on the sports pages in Dartmouth and Westport for some time, putting in four years on the Westport High School varsity golf team and now being recognized as a key player for UMD.
Nick didn't achieve the level that he is at through luck. There were many days filled with long hours at the golf course, practicing drives and putts. Known for his consistency on the course, Nick was asked if it was usually the long or the short game that makes his game work.
"It's either one or the other," Nick said. "Some days I'll be struggling on the short game but I'll be hitting the ball great elsewhere. On other days I might be scraping the ball off the ground, and my short game will save me. It's the days that you have both of those down that you really start to put up some good scores."
When asked about the UMD team's success, Nick said, "This is the deepest team we've had in years. We've got five guys going to Nationals, but in all reality probably seven or eight deserve to go. You could take two guys out and put two others in that would put up the same numbers."
A team that can replace two of its starters with no loss to their overall performance may be a team destined for greatness at the national level. "The team is certainly laced with talent," Nick said. "We've got two transfer students who have helped us out. Brandon Oldham is doing well; George Gillmore is playing well. Matt Connolly is also playing well. In practice, you've always got guys pushing each other for spots, so that makes them want to play better."
Nick got started in the world of competitive golf playing for Westport High School. Traditionally, high school golf matches are played in nine hole formats that consist of one-on-one match play; whichever team has more winners in match play wins the event.
College golf differs because it requires golfers to play 18 holes against up to 10 different teams. The format is also stroke play, a change-up from the more casual style of match play.
When asked about how he got into golf, Nick said, "My father played just a couple times a week. I just started playing with a buddy of mine, and picked it up that way. Plus, I've worked at a golf course all my life, so that made things easy."
The UMD men's golf team plays a majority of their matches at Allendale Country Club in Dartmouth. "We started in April; we practice in rain or shine," he noted.
Nick said the team has been getting back into the swing of things after the long winter break. "I don't want to say it's a tune-up season, but spring is really just to keep the swings going. Fall is when we have the (GNAC) tournament, so that's the big thing."
The team's last match was April 19, where the Corsairs combined for a team score of 328 at the par-72 Blackstone National Golf Club.
Nick shot a 74 during that match, and earned some praise from Coach Joel Baptista for his efforts. "I was pleased with Nick's round today; he had a tough weekend and came back with a great round today," the coach said. "Overall, we had a very successful spring, and we got a lot of players some experience, which will help us for the fall. We're in good spot heading to nationals. We know what we need to work on to prepare for the trip."
Off the course, Nick said he enjoys watching Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson on television because they put in a lot of hard work into their games.
Most golfers would agree that one of the reasons the game is great is because it can be played well into our 80s; that means Nick has a lot of time to achieve the golfing goals he has set for himself.
Young and sporting a great swing, he will take to the links in North Carolina in a few weeks looking to reach his next goal-- helping his teammates earn a shot at a national championship.