David Gushee of Gorham is off to a great start this spring as a freshman golfer for Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y. At the Lafayette College Invitational last weekend, Gushee finished second overall with rounds of 73 and 71, helping Siena place fifth overall.

“David is doing a great job,” said Coach Tom Wronowski. “He has a complete game. He certainly has the length. He has very good hands and is strong around the greens.

“David is a smart player who exhibits good course management. He’s done everything I’ve asked. He did well academically the first semester. He’s an absolute joy to have.”

Wronowski said Gushee is only the second freshman to ascend to No. 1 in his 14 years as coach.

“David is a mature kid who carries himself well. As a freshman, he is seeing these courses for the first time, but he has shown that he can play any course,” he said.

Siena is a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. In MAAC golf, Siena and Loyola of Maryland are traditionally the top teams.

“We’ve banged heads with them for the last six years,” said Wronowski. “If they haven’t won the conference, we have.”

Toward the end of his senior year at Gorham, Gushee was looking for a college where he would get a strong education and a chance to play golf right away. He’s found it at Siena, a Division I program with 3,000 students.

“I didn’t want to be at a school where you have to slug it out seven days a week in practice and hope that you play well enough to get a chance. This place has been a pretty wise decision,” said Gushee.

“I wanted to be on a team where I could get a spot, do some traveling and be close enough to home so my parents could watch me play, It’s a lot different than high school. There’s more school work, so you have to stay on top of things.”

With some matches on the road on weekends, Gushee looks to get a head start on his studying before he leaves. He said it’s hard sometimes to study on the road. If he misses something in the classroom, he’s quick to get squared away on Mondays.

As for his golf, Gushee has learned to adjust his game for the conditions and course.

“It’s all about hitting the shots to help your team,” he said. “Sometimes you have to tone down your game according to the course. You don’t want to be chasing pins if it could hurt the team.

“So far the weather we’ve played in hasn’t been great. I think we’ve had one favorable day.”

That didn’t stop Gushee from playing in shorts in cool temperatures at Lafayette.

“He was the only one in shorts,” said Wronowski.

Gushee had a two-shot lead after the first round at Lafayette. He shot 1-under the second day, but got passed by a Bucknell golfer who shot 66.

“I was ready to play this spring,” said Gushee. “It’s good to be at a place when I can get my game rolling. Traveling most weekends, it’s good being with the team and talking with the guys.”

With no seniors on the team, Siena should continue to be strong in its conference.

“I expected David to come in and be a top-five player, but his performance has exceeded my expectations,” said Wronowski.

This summer, Gushee plans to play in the Portland/Maine Open, the Maine Amateur and the New England Amateur. He tied for fifth at the Maine Amateur last year.

 

TEE TO GREEN: New faces in pro shops around the state include Allan Menne at Poland Spring, Stefan Niezgoda at Sugarloaf, Shawn Welock at Old Marsh and Kevin Cullen at Prospect Hill.

Former Sugarloaf pro Scott Hoisington is now at Nonesuch River. His assistant is Jim Fairbanks, who had been the head pro at Falmouth and Nonesuch. Scott Mann has been promoted from assistant to head pro at Falmouth.

Brian Bickford is still the head pro at Val Halla but is also now the director of community education and recreation in Cumberland, so assistant pros Paul Adler and Brad Leighton will get added responsibilities to help out Bickford. Bickford will remain as the golf coach at Greely. He reports that the course has 64 new members.

Falmouth Country Club has been awarded the 2012 men’s New England Amateur Championship. Falmouth hosted the tournament in 1994, won by Mark Plummer.

At last weekend’s opening Maine State Golf Association weekly amateur at Bath Country club, Ricky Jones won low gross with a 69. Matt Greenleaf was second, also with a 69.

The first championship event on the MSGA calendar will be the team club championship May 23 at Belgrade Lakes.

Entries are being taken for the Paul Bunyan Amateur June 5-6 at Penobscot Valley in Orono and Kebo Valley in Bar Harbor. Go to www.bunyangolf.com.

 

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be reached at 791-6419 or at:

tchard@pressherald.com