April 30, 2003

Golf Seniors Excelled Both on, off Fairways

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The train of the future has rolled into Cornell Junction, and Justin Gatwood, Ross LaFleur, and Dave Nayak of the men’s golf team have their bags packed and are ready to go. As they move on to undoubtedly bigger and better things, one can see the effect they have had at Cornell. All three have left a lasting mark during their time here, as the Red has improved in its level of play in the last four years. Aside from bringing their considerable talent to the team, they have also been impacted by third-year coach Matt Baughan.

“I owe the development of my golf game solely to Coach Baughan and how he’s really taught me to focus on the physical and mental side of golf,” said Nayak, “Baughan came in and really turned the program around.” The emphasis for both the players and the coach has been to work together to make the team as strong as possible. The seniors have worked the hardest to incorporate Baughan’s coaching style and the new players into a competitive team.

“Ross LaFleur has done a lot for the program, he’s one of the individuals who really helped me push the program in the right direction,” said Coach Baughan.

LaFleur has been on the team for all four years, earning varsity letters each year except his first. He is currently the co-captain of the team, and has been the top player on the team numerous times throughout his career.

“Ross has a lot of raw talent,” admitted Baughan. “He never had a whole lot of formal instruction, just his talent, but he went with that.” In addition to his exploits on the course, LaFleur has enjoyed helping the younger players on the team adjust to life at college.

Nayak was not able to play this spring season, but he also lettered three out of four years, and was a co-captain as a junior. He is currently working on his honors thesis in psychology and plans to attend medical school, to eventually become an allergist/immunologist.

“He’s a very, very dedicated young man no matter what he is doing,” said Baughan.

“I really appreciate what the Cornell University Athletic Department and Coach Baughan have done for me,” replied Nayak. “Because of them, I am a better golfer, student, and person.”

Gatwood is the co-captain of the team this year, even though he tried out and did not make the team when he first arrived at Cornell. Gatwood’s actions at Cornell speak of his devotion and dedication to whatever he is involved in. He took a job at the golf course upon his acceptance to Cornell, and worked on his game until he was able to make the team. He has secured varsity letters as a junior and a senior. Last weekend, Gatwood participated in the Ivy League Championships, earning a tie for 33rd place and a score of 250 over a total of 54 holes.

“He has a great work habit,” commented Coach Baughan, “He is a very dedicated and disciplined young man. You would love to have a bunch of him on the team. He has worked for everything he has received up to this point.” All three players have shown dedication to the game over their past four years here at Cornell, and will continue to do so in their future. Justin Gatwood, Ross LaFleur, and Dave Nayak gave their talents to the Big Red men’s golf team, and everyone in the organization — from the head coach to the freshmen — have benefited from it.

Archived article by S.W. Falk