Defranco leads golf in historic meet

Evan Bunis ’18 scored a 78 on Monday for a 14th place finish.  Photo by Minh Tran

Evan Bunis ’18 scored a 78 on Monday for a 14th place finish.
Photo by Minh Tran

Gabe Lehman

lehmanga@grinnell.edu

As Jp Defranco  ’18 continues to climb the all-time ranks of Grinnell men’s golf, the 2015-16 Pioneers continue to reap the benefits.

“He is as fierce of a competitor as I have ever coached,” said head coach Brian Jaworski. “Any sport, any gender.”

Defranco, whose name already peppers Grinnell’s record books, got some help from his teammates as Grinnell cruised to victory and added their names to Grinnell golf history. Grinnell’s superb team scored 301 at Central College Dual in Pella, Iowa on Monday,  which is rated to be the second-best Grinnell team score of all time. 

“We now know that we have a team full of guys who will grind,” Jaworski said.

In particular, Jaworski highlighted the accomplishment of Carlo Morini Cobo ’19, who started the day with six straight bogeys but regained form to finish with a solid score of 79.

Defranco believes that a culture change which started last year with the golf team has continued into this season.

“It’s turned more into a team atmosphere with the team coming first and wanting to win more than just individuals. We’ve been practicing a lot during the fall and making sure the practices are competitive and that everyone is getting better every day,” DeFranco said.

Jaworski agreed with Defranco about the culture change, even from last year to this year.

“We’re different in that we’re a year older. We’re different in that we’re a little bit deeper. We’re different as far as our level of commitment,” Jaworski said.

Defranco paced the Pioneers with score of 68, good for 2-under-par, the best individual score of the tournament. However, Defranco was hardly alone in his accomplishments. Zach McGriff ’18 shot a 76, the 10th best finish of the day. Evan Bunis ’18, Morini Cobo and Jake Van Oort ’18 rounded out the day for Grinnell with scores of 78, 79 and 81 respectively.

While others may praise Defranco’s Grinnell records, the he has even higher aims in mind.

“I personally don’t think about records,” Defranco said. “What my goal for this season is to get in the top 50 in the country for scoring average.”

The success at Central has the Pioneers looking forward to the remaining tournaments both this fall and in the spring.

“Our goal is to win the Conference,” Jaworski said. “And that wouldn’t be a goal of ours if it wasn’t realistic.”

The Pioneers do not have to wait long to defend their tournament win. They will travel to Dubuque, Iowa this weekend for the University of Dubuque Invitational.

“Dubuque is going to be a real test for us, really tight golf course,” Defranco said, “[There are] going to be a lot of good teams there, so we have to go low if we want to have a chance of winning or placing high.”