By Will LeBlond
It’s rarely easy to make the transition from playing high school to college sports, but Trumansburg native Dan Lapp had an added challenge to traverse.
Lapp was nagged by a shoulder injury during the senior year of his high school career with the Blue Raiders, which carried over to his freshman season on the St. Peter’s golf team. While he rehabbed the injury, he missed the fall season with the Peacocks, as his focus was to be ready for the spring championship season.
“It went well,” said Lapp on his first season playing NCAA Division I golf. “I only got to play half the year because of my shoulder, but the second half was pretty cool and we got to see some awesome places.”
The spring season started with a trip to Puerto Rico for the team at the Dorado Beach Shootout, but Lapp’s season was one that got progressively better after he got back into his comfort zone.
“It started off really shaky because I was getting back from my shoulder injury,” said Lapp. “I was kind of rusty at the beginning, but once I got to practicing, it came back naturally.”
By the tail end of the team’s schedule in April, Lapp was playing some of his best golf, as he shot team low totals at the Lafayette Invitational in Hellertown, Pennsylvania, and the Rhode Island Invitational in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. While he was keeping the Peacocks in contention with his rounds, he still wants to improve his scoring moving forward.
“I didn’t have a par round this season, so I want to get back to shooting what I had been,” said Lapp. “I want to shoot under par consistently and help the team out more.”
He still came close to getting to even par for a two-day tournament in Rhode Island in mid-April, when he tied for 12th at the tourney with a 220 +4, which was the best total for a Saint Peter’s player by nine shots. With confidence on his side, Lapp and the rest of the team went south just a few days later for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Championships at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
With four freshmen on the roster, including Lapp, and a fifth place finish in the nine-team tournament last season, the challenge was tough for the Peacocks, but they were able to climb the mountain. The team was in second place in the team total after two days, and then they were able to grind out the final day and claim a three-shot victory over Siena to claim the conference championship.
“We all put together a great final round, it was a feeling that I’ll never forget,” said Lapp, who just missed a top-10 finish in the tournament with a three-day total of 229 +13 that was good enough to finish tied for 11th. “Our team did really well. I wasn’t expecting to go that far, but we pulled together as a team and were able to get to the qualifier for NCAAs.”
That shot to get to the NCAA Championships came about a month later for the Peacocks when they headed down to the Lone Star State for an NCAA Regional hosted by the University of Texas in Austin. While the team wasn’t able to advance past the regional round – finishing 14th in the team total – Lapp was the second best finisher on the team and shot a final round 74 against some of the best competition in the country.
“It was definitely something to learn from,” said Lapp. “Just seeing what’s different from me and them and to take in everything was a lot of fun, and I did the best that I could.”
Now, Lapp is back home for the summer and is working on his game while still trying to get back to where he wants to be physically.
“It was a long struggle and I’m still not back to 100 percent yet,” said Lapp. “I still go to therapy, but I’m just working on it every day.”
Lapp now goes to physical therapy three to four times a week and has also been working with a weight trainer to try and add some muscle to his frame.
With a solid freshman season under his belt and three more years of eligibility left, he is taking it step-by-step and it starts with his health.
“The main focus is to get my shoulder back to normal.”
Lapp plans on playing in some local tournaments throughout the summer before he reports back to New Jersey for his sophomore season, which is expected to start in early September.