In the most unusual of seasons, LMU golf in 2020–21 notched a performance that was its best in 15 years, says Head Coach Jason D’Amore ’08. The 2006 team won a conference title and a spot in the NCAA championships. D’Amore should know: He was a crucial contributor to that team’s success, too.
Led by redshirt junior Gavin Cohen and freshman Riley Lewis, LMU this year recorded a season to remember. “We set seven records for the LMU golf program,” D’Amore says. “Guys set individual records, and some of the team records we set smashed other records. It was the second-best year in the history of LMU golf.”
The LMU team won back-to-back team titles for the first time since 2006–07. LMU won the individual title in three consecutive tournaments, also a program first.
At season’s end, Cohen and Lewis competed in the NCAA regional finals. Cohen finished the year with the best single-season individual scoring average in program history, topping the standard set by Brian Locke ’09 in 2007. Lewis finished his first season with the program’s best freshman campaign, averaging 71.42 strokes in his 36 collegiate rounds. Lewis was named WCC Freshman of the Year; Cohen, Honorable Mention All-Conference.
D’Amore says the team’s success during the pandemic was especially significant but for a surprising reason: They played, unlike other athletes whose seasons were canceled. But that presented an unexpected psychological obstacle to be overcome.
“The guys felt a little bit of weight on their shoulders as the only sport that was representing LMU in a competitive environment,” D’Amore explains.
But D’Amore says the team accepted the challenge: “It provided them an opportunity to figure out if they would fall backward or fight through it. But they did. They put their heads down and did everything to grind through it. Everyone just really wanted to play good golf. They didn’t let anything get in the way of that.”