York College freshman golfer Casey Leebrick won the Montgomery Cup tournament earlier this season, claiming the top spot in his first-ever college outing.
For most NCAA Division III golfers, winning your first tournament would be impressive. College sports, typically, are dominated by upperclassmen. For Leebrick, however, it wasn’t just his first golf tournament in college — it was his first tournament on the East Coast.
Leebrick is a native of San Luis Obispo, California, and is the rare D-III student-athlete to change coasts when going to college.
“It is pretty rare. We haven’t had a freshman step up and just light it up like that,” York College head coach David Boslough said. “When you have a player like Casey, who can step up and deliver, and you know you’re going to have that for the next four years, that’s something you can build around.”
Cali kid: Leebrick has played golf since he was about 5 years old, but he said his main passion growing up was baseball.
“Baseball was the main thing for me until about my eighth-grade year,” Leebrick said. “Then I kind of got burnt out and I wanted to golf more.”
Currently, Leebrick is listed at 5 feet, 7 inches tall and 140 pounds, and he said he was always a small kid growing up.
“I was one of the smallest kids in my grade in high school,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons I chose golf, because you don’t have to be big to play it.”
College recruiting: When Leebrick was looking to play in college, he wanted to go to a D-I school.
“I was trying to go D-I, but the thing was my game wasn’t quite there,” he said. “After I committed to York, something clicked, and now I’m starting to play really well.”
That turned his focus to D-III schools, and Leebrick said he was being recruited by Stevenson University in Maryland. He figured if he was going to travel nearly 3,000 miles for a visit, he might as well look at other schools in the area, too.
“We visited about six other schools and York was one of them,” Leebrick said. “I met (Boslough) and saw the school and the program and the home course and it was just a great fit. It was definitely a diamond in the rough.”
Leebrick said Boslough was the tipping point for him in choosing York.
“The main thing was Coach (Boslough),” he said. “I loved what he was doing with the program. He was only there for two years and he moved the team up 100 spots in the rankings. If he could do that in two years, what could we do in my career.”
Transition to college: Leebrick said being on the golf team has helped his transition away from home.
“I’m just glad I have a good group of guys I get to go play golf with every day,” he said.
Leebrick also thinks the large amount of traveling that his family did while he was growing up has helped his transition.
“My family is well traveled,” he said. “I’ve been to 43 states and six countries. I love traveling and seeing new places.”
Leebrick said playing on courses in Pennsylvania is different than in California because of how the ball travels through the air.
“From where I’m from in California, the ball doesn’t travel because we are near the ocean, and the ocean air knocks the ball down,” he said. “So the ball travels about five yards farther with each club here.”
Tournament win: Leebrick won the two-day tournament by two strokes in early September with an 8 under. He shot a 5-under 67 on the first day and won the tournament with a 3-under 69 on the final day.
“It was actually a pretty tough course,” Boslough said. “It didn’t seem like he felt any nerves or any pressure.”
Boslough said Leebrick’s driver and putter have both been strong this season.
“He’s one of the best putters I’ve seen,” Boslough said. “He’s a pretty small kid, but he hits the ball a mile. He’s probably one of the longest hitters on our team. When your distance is a strength and your putter is strong, that allows you to shoot some pretty low scores.”
Leebrick has competed in two more tournaments for York since winning the Montgomery Cup, finishing 53rd at the Royal Lakes Fall Invitational in Georgia on rounds of 75 and 77, and then finishing eighth over the weekend at the Mason-Dixon Collegiate Classic at The Bridges in nearby Abbottstown on rounds of 72 and 76.
As a team, the York men finished third in the Montgomery Cup, fourth at Royal Lakes and fifth at the Mason-Dixon event.
York women take title: The York College women's golf squad won the Greene Turtle Invitational hosted by Shenandoah University on Sunday at the Shenandoah Valley Golf Club.
The Spartans finished with another new school record, shooting a 307 total for a two-day total of 622. The Spartans won the tournament by nine strokes..
York freshman Jordan Koller won the tournament. She shot a 74 on Sunday to win by one stroke over teammate Anna Moore and Randolph-Macon's Liza Lewis. Koller opened with a 77 on Saturday, to finish with a 151 total.
Reach Jacob Calvin Meyer at firstname.lastname@example.org