Mancinelli wins GLIAC Freshman of the Year

GVL/Kevin Sielaff
GLIAC Freshman of the Year in mens golf Domenic Mancinelli warms-up before a practice match at the Meadows Golf Course in Allendale Wednesday, April 29, 2015.

GVL/Kevin Sielaff GLIAC Freshman of the Year in men’s golf Domenic Mancinelli warms-up before a practice match at the Meadows Golf Course in Allendale Wednesday, April 29, 2015.

Andy Smith

For the third time in school history, Grand Valley State has produced a golfer worthy of earning GLIAC Freshman of the Year.

And to think Domenic Mancinelli wasn’t in the Lakers’ plans until late last summer.

Mancinelli, a Detroit Catholic Central High School alumnus, has become quite the find for head coach Gary Bissell and the rest of the GVSU men’s golf outfit.

Scoring in a team-high 19 rounds, Mancinelli has posted an average score of 74.58 – good for third-best on the team.

Mancinelli is the first Laker to win the award since Chris Cunningham, the 2011 GLIAC Freshman of the Year.

“This award means a lot to me,” Mancinelli said. “It is a great start to my career and I will hopefully keep improving and moving up from here.”

The Plymouth, Mich. native recorded three top 10 finishes in his rookie season. Mancinelli’s season to this point has been best marked by his 4-under-par 68 at the AMFAM Invitational on Mar. 30 and his 3-under-par 69 at the Midwest Regional No. 4 in mid-April.

Playing a good all-around game has been the key to Mancinelli’s success. Rather than focusing on just one area, the freshman standout has been able to mold together a healthy dose of power, accurate iron play and putting savvy on the green.

“My putting has been very good this year and has been a big key to my success.” Mancinelli said.

“He is very passionate about the sport of golf, and one thing that stands out is how he really hates to lose, and he takes that and uses that as motivation to help him be successful in tournaments,” said GVSU head coach Gary Bissell. “He is going to be a great player for us for years to come, he continues to get better every day and will be a huge asset to the team.”

Mancinelli’s decision to play golf for the Lakers came late in the summer, past the normal time of athletic recruitment. A nationally-ranked top 1,000 player out of high school, Mancinelli was largely unnoticed in the golf scene due to his skill as a hockey player.

The Happy Gilmore story eventually chose GVSU for academic studies, but Bissell was tipped off about his skill on the links, and just like that, the hockey player was officially playing golf.

“We caught wind of him at the end of his senior year,” Bissel said. “He was overlooked in high school by a lot of different schools, we got lucky that he fell into our lap like this and that he was already going to GVSU anyways.”

Mancinelli will look to keep up his success and add depth to the Lakers team as GVSU heads into postseason play. The Lakers grabbed the No. 2 seed heading into regional play May 4 through 6 in Lemont, Ill.

“My experience at GVSU has been great, the guys are all very inviting and it’s been a great freshman year to remember,” Mancinelli said. “I have accomplished a lot this year, and it’s been a great experience.”