off for the last time
golfer leads team with both experience, example
credits new leadership role to this seasons success
on and off the links.
At the end of last fall, mens golf coach Bill Montigel
sat down with Stephen Polanski. Montigel told the senior
that if hed commit to working hard, he could really
help the golf program.
Since then, Polanskis hard work and leadership have
propelled the No. 9 Frogs to Top-10 finishes in all four
of their spring tournaments.
He worked harder than any other guy on the team
in the offseason, Montigel said. He committed
himself to having a great spring season.
Montigel said Polanski, one of two seniors on the team
this year, has been a great example for the younger players
who can see an older player dedicated to the team and
the game of golf.
Being a senior on a primarily young team also helped Polanski
The guys look up to you, Polanski said. It
forced me to grow up and stay away from doing the wrong
Polanski showed his team he was ready to lead in a preseason
qualifier for the Waikoloa Intercollegiate Tournament
in Hawaii. He won the qualifier by 19 strokes over the
rest of the players on the team.
His 19th place finish at the Hall of Fame Invitational
March 19-21 was the best of his four-year career at TCU.
To Polanski, however, a finish is just a finish.
The way Ive represented my school is the thing
Im most proud of, Polanski said.
And according to Montigel, Polanski has represented TCU
well. Montigel said Polanski, beyond being a skilled golfer,
has always been a superior student who earns good grades.
Polanski, a business management major, came to TCU from
Livonia, a suburb of Detroit. As a freshman, he was awarded
a medical redshirt by the NCAA because of a broken finger,
leaving him incapable of playing the majority of the season.
The summer following his freshman year, Polanski proved
he was fully rehabilitated by winning the 2000 Northern
Amateur Tournament the greatest achievement of
his golf career.
Montigel went and watched the final round. He was thoroughly
impressed with Polanskis win against stiff competition.
I knew then that he was going to be a great player,
Montigel said Polanski has grown tremendously and become
mentally tougher during his time at TCU. He said it was
easy to rattle Polanski as a freshman, but as a senior,
its a different story.
Now nothing bothers him, he just goes out and plays
golf, Montigel said.
Montigel told Polanski that he will go to every tournament
for the rest of the year, meaning Polanski will letter
for the fourth consecutive season.
Polanski, who graduates in May, will attempt to lead the
Frogs through the NCAA Central Regional May 20-22 and
onto the NCAA Championships June 1-4.
After graduation, Polanski plans on pursuing a professional
golf career for a few years. He recently got engaged to
Michele Kruzel, a fellow Horned Frog who graduated in
May 2003. The two will be married in December and plan
on remaining in the Fort Worth area.
If professional golf doesnt work out, Polanski is
glad he will have a great degree from TCU to fall back
on. Whether he plays professional golf or not, hes
pleased with the influence golf has had on him.
Golf presents so many opportunities and challenges
that its made me a better person, he said.
Polanski said TCU means a lot to him and he is grateful
for his experiences here.
Im going to miss TCU, thats for sure,
Polanski said. Its been great playing Colonial
all the time and living the dream life before I have to
do it all on my own.