If the Manhattan golf team needs an edge this week at MAAC championships, they know exactly where to look.
It’ll yet again look toward one of their sophomore golfers, James Edgeworth, who last year showcased his abilities on the golf course at the tournament. He does his thing on the green without ever considering himself amongst the best players on the team, and couldn’t care less if he was.
But his even keel can’t keep him away from the mental game golf plays on the player.
“His temperament is pretty consistent, but he can be down on himself at times,” Manhattan golf head coach Jerry Wood said. “He can play either really well or just nothing. He’s definitely a little bipolar as far as his ability to stay in or get lost in the rounds. It’s improving. In the past he got pretty negative of himself in a game he couldn’t find his swing. He’s progressing in that category in a pretty good way.”
In Edgeworth’s freshman season he competed in nine events, finished 10th at the MAAC championship behind his impressive shooting and averaged a season score of 79.50.
At MAACs he had a 10th place finish with a solid first round score of 73. He followed his starting score with two rounds of more solid scores of 76.
He finished the championship with a combined score of 225 (+9) helping lead the Jaspers to a fifth place finish, which is their best since 2002. He was later named to the All-MAAC team.
Edgeworth credits his tournament success to focus. He said he focused on what he learned throughout the year, his experience, his “competitive juices,” the team and each and every shot.
“High school golf was completely different than college golf,” Edgeworth said. “I got really humble once I entered college because in high school I was always at the top. I was probably one of the best junior golfers on Staten Island. Here playing competitive college golf makes you very humble. You realize just how much better other players are.”
In his high school years he won the New York state High School Federation qualifier, Silver Lake Golf Club Kiwanis Tournament and Jody’s Match Play. And he helped lead Tottenville High School to an undefeated 16-0 record and the N.Y. PSAL Championship in his senior year.
He said he learned how to play golf through his grandpa, retired New York Fire Department chief dad and his uncle. His dad would take him to the golf range and his grandpa would teach him.
Then they’d all golf together.
“That was our foursome: me, my dad, my uncle, my grandpa,” Edgeworth said.
He’s grown into a great teammate and mature, seasoned golfer per Wood and teammates who are trying to work out his confidence.
“I started off last season really well and then I started struggling with my swing,” Edgeworth said. “I just lost a lot of confidence, and that affected me basically every tournament afterwards, I just got slowly worse and worse on a steady decline. And this season I feel a lot better though.”
On his own terms, he has started doing some weight training so that he’s able to hit the golf ball further and with more power than he even may expect, Wood said.
As his sophomore college golf season reaches its end, captain Chris Calabro, Jonathan Feuer and Paul Toohey will graduate and four freshman golfers are coming in. Wood said he’s looking to Edgeworth, rising junior Michael Giannico included, to step-up next season into a more vocal leader from his usual quiet reserve to help the new players adjust to a different level of golf.
“He can be a quiet leader,” Calabro said. “He can lead by example with his professionalism on the golf course. He’s not much of a teacher. He’s very good mechanically, and just by watching him you can learn. He has a very mechanically sound swing. It’s almost like a professional swing. You can almost say it’s flawless. There’s not much in his golf swing that a professional would say is wrong.”