Bangor follows in father's footsteps to NCAA D-III golf championships
His father and grandfather will walk with him when Carnegie Mellon junior Ian Bangor plays in the NCAA Division III men's golf championships.
That is not the only way in which the tournament that starts Tuesday in the Florida panhandle will be a family affair.
Paul Bangor played in the NCAA Division III championships in 1985, and Ian, like his father, received an at-large bid. They are the only two players in school history to qualify for the Division III men's golf championships as individuals.
“It was a really nice surprise,” Paul Bangor said. “I'm glad he got an opportunity to play in the event.”
Ian Bangor received one of five invitations after leading the Tartans with a 73.8 scoring average and winning three times this season.
The Sewickley Academy graduate will take plenty of confidence into the season-ending tournament. Improvement in his ball-striking has dovetailed with a short game that always has been one of his biggest strengths.
“I've improved a lot, especially my consistency,” said Bangor, a Moon resident. “My swing mechanics in general have gotten a lot better.”
Bangor played a practice round on each of the courses at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Destin, giving him one advantage his father didn't have in 1985.
Paul Bangor received an 11th-hour invite to the tournament held at Monroe Golf Course in Rochester, N.Y. He learned about it the day before it started — and on the same day that he had to be out of his dorm room at Carnegie Mellon.
By the time he took care of that and drove to Rochester, he had time to grab only a couple hours of sleep. And that's not all.
“I got a speeding ticket,” recalled Bangor, a lawyer in Pittsburgh.
He recovered from early difficulty while playing a course he had never seen to shoot 75 and 72 in the final two rounds.
One trait Bangor's son seems to have inherited is the mental toughness to overcome less-than-ideal circumstances.
“If he hits a bad shot, he just kind of figures out how to recover, and he's really unflappable,” Carnegie Mellon men's golf coach Rich Erdelyi said. “I think that's his biggest strength, his ability to stay in the moment. Young golfers, I think, have trouble doing that. He's really special in a lot of ways.”
Bangor also excels away from the course, which is one reason he won't play a lot of competitive golf this summer.
He leaves for New York City at the end of the month for an internship at BlackRock, an investment firm.
Bangor, who has a 3.85 grade-point average while majoring in business with a minor in economics, said the opportunity was too good to pass up. He will try to stay sharp by hitting balls during the week and playing on the weekends.
“I'll be back for all of August, so I'll get to play in a couple of things,” Bangor said of his summer golf schedule. “I think I need to go out and get some work experience.”
He will get valuable golf experience this week; he needs to play well enough in the first two rounds to make the cut. It helps that Bangor is rolling it as well on the greens as he has all season.
“I feel good,” he said, “and it's all starting to come together.”
Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @ ScottBrown_Trib.