Junior Sean Paul Owen, already with an impressive fall season, finished on a high note in the last two events of the fall.
On Sept. 26, the Lakers golf team competed in the Elmira Invitational, where they won the team event, led by the individual medalist, Owen, who shot a one-under 71 at his hometown course, Elmira Country Club.
Over the weekend, in the 20th Annual Oswego Fall Invitational, Owen defended his individual medalist title from last year with back-to-back rounds of three-over 74 rounds at Oswego Country Club.
“We definitely wanted to go out there and get a win, so you always try to play well,” Owen said. “I just hit the ball fairly solid all week and was able to put up decent numbers.”
Head coach, Mike Howard, has always been impressed with the way Owen plays the game, especially his decision making.
“[Owen]’s shot selection process, he puts the ball in a position to hit a favorable next shot,” Howard said. “He analyzes the options he has, and more often than not, he chooses the best option.”
Owen has been playing golf since he was two years old, with a plastic set of clubs in the backyard alongside his father.
Growing up playing the game, Owen idolized professional golfer and five-time major winner Phil Mickelson.
“[Mickelson] does it all with class,” Owen said. “He’s just a really good guy, and I like the way he plays.”
As much love as he has for the game of golf, it was ironically not his first choice when he enrolled in Oswego State as a freshman in the fall of 2015. In fact, golf was not even his first choice when he played in high school.
The Horseheads, New York, native played varsity soccer for three years at Horseheads High School and was captain of the team his senior year.
Even though Horseheads has one of the best golf programs in the Southern Tier Athletic Conference, Owen enjoyed his time as a soccer player for the Blue Raiders.
Owen was not recruited by Oswego State to play soccer, and despite being offered to play at other private schools, he still wanted the opportunity to play at Oswego State as a walk-on.
“They pushed the soccer try-outs back during golf tryouts, so [Owen] was a day late,” head coach Mike Howard said. “We already cut some kids, so I didn’t feel it was appropriate to give a guy a shot a day after cutting some guys. Unfortunately, he didn’t try out that first year, and I wish he had with some of the results we got.”
Even though Owen never played for a golf team and only competed in tournaments when he was younger, he adjusted quickly and showed promise early on as a collegiate golfer when he made the team his sophomore year.
“All the guys were really welcoming [Howard] was really welcoming,” Owen said. “Just treated me good from the beginning, so it wasn’t really a hard transition.”
Owen won his first tournament as a Laker at last year’s Oswego Fall Invitational with a two-over-par round of 73. That performance won him Laker Athlete of the Week for the first time as well.
After Owen’s big week last week, he was named Laker Athlete of the Week again and Empire 8 Conference men’s golf Athlete of the Week, the first Laker to be named to that honor.
“It’s great. All the guys texted me saying ‘congratulations,’ and my family group chats all texted me ‘congratulations,’” Owen said. “It makes you feel good that you’re participating and doing well for the golf team.”
Owen and the Lakers will look to stay sharp in the winter with the chance to qualify for the NCAA Div. III Golf Championship in the spring season.
Rachel Futterman | The Oswegonian