If you didn’t know before Keegan Bradley made it big on the PGA
Tour, you certainly know now: St. John’s does have a Golf program.
And yes, it’s really good.
With a conference-record nine BIG EAST Championships, the Red Storm
has been producing talented young golfers at an astonishing rate.
Since taking over as Head Coach in 1994, Frank Darby has brought
the program to prominence, establishing St. John’s as an elite
force in the Atlantic and the Mid-Atlantic region. Bradley’s recent
success only validates the program and has certainly helped Darby
in his recruiting efforts.
look back at where the program was when Keegan came in and where it
is now,” Darby said, “and it’s like leaps and bounds. It’s all due
to confidence, since kids know that if they put in hard work, they
can be just like Keegan. He’s got the STJ logo on his bag and he
wears the Sunday red – what more can we ask for? He’s a great
ambassador for the University and is 100% in our corner.”
But Bradley is not the only St. John’s alumnus making waves. Andrew
Svoboda ’03TCB, who owns the Red Storm record of 13 collegiate
tournament victories, is currently 10th on the Web.com Tour money
list and is in line to join Bradley on the PGA Tour in 2013.
Mike Ballo, Jr. ’10CPS, meanwhile, won the 2012 Westchester Open
and competed in the first round of PGA Tour Q-School in 2011. Joe
Saladino ’02CPS – a two-time Metropolitan Golf Association Player
of the Year – recently added to his impressive resume with a win at
the Walter J. Travis Invitational, a prestigious amateur tournament
on Long Island.
“Prospective students see that we’ve developed guys like Keegan and
Andrew Svoboda,” Darby noted. “They see that we can get kids to the
PGA Tour, and they like the schedule we play.”
There may very well be a few more St. John’s alumni
joining the PGA Tour in the near future, as Darby’s current squad
is an impressive group: Ryan McCormick ’14CPS is coming off a
stellar season, with victories at the 2012 Met Amateur and the 2012
New Jersey Amateur, in addition to a second-place finish at the
2012 Met Open; Pat Wilson ’13TCB qualified for the 2012 U.S.
Amateur field and made the sectional round of U.S. Open qualifiers;
and Dylan Crowley ’15TCB qualified for the U.S. Amateur, the U.S.
Amateur Public Links Championship and the sectional round of U.S.
Bradley has taken notice of the team’s recent success, and he’s one
of the squad’s biggest fans. He frequently follows the local
amateur leader boards, rooting for the St. John’s players who are
walking in his footsteps.
“The team is doing great,” Bradley said. “Coach Darby has put
together another group of outstanding players, and it’s amazing the
type of guys he can get into the program. I think they’re going to
be great for the next few years.”