Good at Golf

Good at Golf

Killian McGinley ’23 lines up a putt during the 2023 MAAC Championship.

Killian McGinley ’23 lines up a putt during the 2023 MAAC Championship.

Killian McGinley ’23 Wins MAAC Golf Individual Championship.

I challenge our student athletes to be one percent better each day, and empower and encourage them to be responsible for their own success.

— Doug Holub, Fairfield Golf Program Director

You might say Killian McGinley ’23 was born to be good at golf.

He is the son of Paul and Alison McGinley, both of whom played professional golf in Europe and in the United States. His Irish dad became a star of the biennial Ryder Cup competition when he clinched a win for Europe over the U.S. in 2002; Paul McGinley is currently an NBC Sports and Sky Sports golf analyst.

Killian McGinley had a momentous win for himself this past spring, capturing the MAAC (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) Individual Championship and helping Fairfield University to a second-place team finish in the conference tournament held at Disney’s Palm Golf Course in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. He went on to represent the University at the NCAA Regionals in Auburn, where he finished strongly in the pack.

McGinley won the MAAC Championship by one stroke over Mount St. Mary’s Hank Schaefer, and became the first Stag since 2014 and the sixth player in program history to win the McLeod Trophy. Opening the tournament at four under par, he carded a 65 in the second round to help build an eightstroke lead into the final round.

Alongside McGinley’s individual title, the Stags secured their second-place team finish at the MAAC Championship with the entirety of the “Fairfield Five” placing 24th or better. Siena won the tournament, taking a big lead during the final round.

“The biggest emotion initially was relief,” McGinley said, looking back on the MAAC title run. “I had put myself in a great position to win after two rounds, so I was definitely relieved to get over the line. The win also meant I qualified for NCAA Regionals, so I was thankful that I would be able to fly the flag for Fairfield University at another event.” McGinley was part of Fairfield Men’s and Women’s Golf program director Doug Holub’s first full recruiting class, which included two of the London native’s closest friends, Pat McCarthy ’23 and Shane DeVincenzo ’23.

“As a group, we really pushed each other and we created a competitive atmosphere between us that echoed throughout the team as we progressed toward our final year,” McGinley said. “This competitiveness pushed us all to work harder.”

When asked how he chose Stag Country, he noted, “Both of my parents played college golf in the U.S., so from a young age it was always something I wanted to pursue. Fairfield fit so many categories – a strong business school and being situated so close to the ocean. Also, it’s on the East Coast, so I would always be able to get back to England easily should I need to. Once I visited the campus, I was blown away; I made the right decision.”

McGinley especially enjoyed the sense of community at Fairfield. “It comes along with your time there. The fact that each class lives on campus for at least three years means that you are able to get to know so many more people, compared to perhaps other colleges where students move off campus after freshman year.”

McGinley was surrounded by golf at a young age, but was initially more interested in other sports like tennis, soccer, and cricket. “I only really started taking golf seriously when I was 13, which is quite late compared to many other players.”

As for the future, the Class of 2023 graduate has no lofty goals for his golf game. “At the moment, I am not planning on turning pro. I love the game so much, and I understand how high the standard is to make it in the modern day. I worry that if I did give professional golf a go, I would tarnish my relationship with the game. However, if I win an individual event next year, I may decide to pursue the dream, although there is still a lot of work to do.”

McGinley finished school at Fairfield with a 3.43 GPA, with a major in economics and minors in philosophy and English. He interned this past summer in London at a venture capital firm. “I will be doing a master’s in technology management at the University of California Santa Barbara,” he said, “as well as using my last year of eligibility to play golf on the West Coast.”

Coach Holub and McGinley evaluate the next shot during a fall tournament.

Coach Holub and McGinley evaluate the next shot during a fall tournament.

For his part, golf director Holub has had wonderful success building a winning program during his seven years at Fairfield. Under his direction, the Stags have consistently placed golfers both among the MAAC leaders at the MAAC Championship and on the MAAC All-Academic Team.

In the spring of 2021, the Fairfield men’s and women’s golf teams finished third and fourth, respectively, at the MAAC Championship. In recognition of the Stags’ performance, Holub was selected as both the MAAC Men’s and the MAAC Women’s Golf Coach of the Year. He is the first coach to win both awards in the same season.

Holub is Fairfield’s first-ever Women’s Coach of the Year and joins three-time winner Len Roberto as the University’s second recipient on the men’s side. Following both the 2018-19 and the 2020-21 campaigns, the women’s program earned the WGCA Mark Laesch Award as the most improved team in the nation.

“Over the past few years, we have been very pleased with the progress of both the men’s and women’s programs at Fairfield,” said Holub. “The men have been in the final group on the final day of the MAAC Championship for the past three years. The women have won multiple team titles and two individual titles en route to a fourth place finish this past April, which was their highest finish in my seven-year career at Fairfield.”

Holub, a PGA teaching professional at Fairchild Wheeler Golf Course in the town of Fairfield, is “extremely optimistic” for the future of the golf program at Fairfield University. “Our Athletics Department strives each day to get better on and off the playing field. We are led by Director of Athletics Paul Schlickmann, who has given us opportunities to recruit and attract student athletes who believe in our vision.”

He added, “Our administration works each day to promote our mission and vision of total human development through a distinctly Jesuit championship experience that cultivates the most prepared and soughtafter graduates in the world.”

Holub views his role at Fairfield as one of recruiting the best student athletes who will represent Fairfield on and off the golf course. “I, and our staff, give them every opportunity to have an amazing experience competing, traveling, and playing some of the best courses in the country. I challenge our student athletes to be one percent better each day, and empower and encourage them to be responsible for their own success.”

Holub, of course, has a high opinion of McGinley: “Killian is an extremely respectful and kind young man. He led by example and worked consistently for four years to become the best student athlete he could be. Academics, followed by athletics, was the top priority for him, and it paid off.”

“Killian’s win at the MAAC,” Holub said, “continues to prove that we are moving in an upward trajectory as a program.”

Other Articles in the Fall 2023 Issue

Letter from the President

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Key Shift

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New Perspective

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Alumni Profile: Colleen (Cunningham) and Dan Taylor ’01

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Alumni Profile: Kyle King ’20 and George Cultraro II ’20, MS’21

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Donor Profile: Bob and Deb Kilroy, P’24

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Think Local, Act Global

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Success on the Sound

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