Senior Derek Zachman had a successful second and final season with the golf team which continued its winning streak, capturing its seventh consecutive league title at the 54 hole Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championships last month in Beaumont.
Zachman was one of the three La Verne golfers to earn a place in the All-SCIAC First Team alongside Keven Holliday and Kelby Scharmann, with Paul Gomez in the Second Team.
This is Zachman’s second consecutive All-SCIAC selection, while tying for second place at the 54-hole Championships.
As a junior, he was also awarded the Lee Fulmer Award, which is given to the SCIAC player of the year.
With these accomplishments and more under his belt, Zachman still maintains a humble attitude and credits most of his success as part of a team effort.
“Honestly, winning conference as a team is the most important for me,” Zachman said. “All I cared about this year was bringing home SCIAC as a team, and kind of just helping the team out any way I could.”
Zachman enjoys the special connection he has with his teammates and owes much of the team’s success to their good chemistry.
“It’s a pretty special team we have this year,” he said. “We’re always clicking and we’re always in a good mood.”
“He’s always thinking of the team first,” junior business major and teammate Keven Holliday said. “He has his individual goals, but as long as we bring home the trophy at the end of the day, that’s his main goal.”
Golf coach Chris Davis considers Zachman not only an outstanding player, but almost an assistant coach.
“He works very hard, he knows how to have a good time, he knows how to lighten the pressure when the guys are feeling a little tense,” Davis said. “He’s been an incredible asset to the team.”
Zachman had what some would consider a late start in golf. After playing baseball his entire life, he decided to take up golf more seriously as soon as he entered high school at 14 years old.
“(I like) how competitive it is,” he said. “It’s a different type of competition. It’s not physical, but it’s mental – I can’t describe it; it’s a really exhilarating experience.”
Playing golf can take a lot of concentration, but Zachman utilizes the opposite approach while on the course.
“I try to stay as loose as possible, because when I get a little too focused or too serious, it can mess me up,” he said. “I’m really laid back on the golf course. I just try to have fun and enjoy the experience out there.”
After spending his first two years of college at William Jessup University, Zachman transferred to La Verne in 2011 with the knowledge of its already established successful golf team.
“It just seemed like a perfect fit,” he said. “Southern California weather, good golf, good kids – it just seemed like the best opportunity.”
Zachman will graduate June 1st as a business major with a concentration in marketing, although professional golf is definitely his No. 1 prospect for the future.
“In 10 years, if everything works out, I’ll be in the PGA Tour,” he said. “If not, then I’ll be working in golf somewhere in marketing, maybe caddying for someone else. Somewhere in golf for sure.”
The golf team will continue on to the NCAA Division III Golf Championships May 14-17 in Destin, Fla.
“It was a huge accomplishment,” Zachman said. “I hope the readers understand how important this is for the school and our program.”
Kristina Bugante can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.