ShareThis Page

Gateway boys golf progresses under Doonan

| Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, 5:36 p.m.

First-year Gateway boys golf coach Paul Doonan had a bit of slow start to his rookie season as the Gators coach. First, August's solar eclipse cancelled his coaching debut, and Mother Nature and dropped some rain to further stall the Doonan era. Hardly ideal circumstances.

The Gateway (5-5, 4-5) boys have yet to play their best round of golf, but that's not to say their best is far away. The Gators are coming off a week when they beat Section 4-AAAA rivals Woodland Hills and Penn Hills. Gateway also picked up a nonconference win over Connellsville before falling to one of the top teams in the Section 4-AAAA, Fox Chapel.

The team came together pretty quickly. Five days prior to the eclipse, Doonan, who is back coaching after a 10-year layoff, had his Gators out at Murrysville Golf Club competing to make the five-player lineup.

“I picked out the roster a few days after tryouts, and I did make a few cuts,” he said. “I actually have a team playoff once every seven to 10 days, and I re-seed the roster and top eight get to play in the next couple of matches.”

Doonan said he's amazed at how far advanced some of the younger WPIAL golfers are.

“There's some well polished golfers out there,” he said. “They're so young, I just can't believe it. Ninth-graders, even, and they hardly make any mistakes.”

Marc Caggiano has improved the most since Doonan took over. Doonan points to Caggiano's eagle at Murrysville Golf Club's hole No. 5 as a breakthrough. He said that hole has done wonders for the junior's game and has given him a boost of confidence.

“He's really now thinking of par at every hole,” Doonan said. “He's eliminated some mistakes and really is turning his game around.”

Doonan recruited senior Mike Vojnik, a baseball player, to join the team, and Vojnik secured a spot in the starting five.

Jason Reber, the lone returning starter from a year ago, is averaging a 43 through nine matches this season.

Doonan is interested to see how Reber performs as he missed out qualifying for sectionals last season by one stroke.

Ryan Margolis holds down the No. 2 spot with his 44 average followed by Caggiano (46), Vojnik (49) and Jacob Valentine (49).

With top-flight programs such as Central Catholic and Franklin Regional on deck, Doonan said his Gators are far away from competing with some of the top programs in Class AAAA, but he also said his team isn't far away, either. If Gateway beats rival Plum, Doonan thinks the Gators can nudge their way into a top-four finish in Section 4-AAAA and set the stage for next season.

“We really, at the moment, are only going to lose one starter next year,” Doonan said. “The kids are already talking about next year.”

William Whalen is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.