SOUTH ORANGE –With graduation fast approaching, Lloyd Jefferson Go of Seton Hall is wondering how the time passed so quickly.
A little more than four years ago, the best golfer in the Big East Conference was deciding where to go school, what to study and what would be a good fit for his game.
Choosing Seton Hall matched his academics requirement for his double major of accounting and finance. The Northeast might have been a bit of a stretch to play golf. Coming to New Jersey from the Philippines was a little out of the ordinary, but it has paid off big time.
Go is getting his degree next month and this weekend, he will try for his second straight conference title when the 54-hole tournament starts Sunday on Callawassie Island, South Carolina.
Getting to Seton Hall might have been a matter of Pirates coach Clay White being in the right place at the right time. He was in Las Vegas watching a junior golf tournament when he saw Go.
“When I first saw Lloyd play during the summer of 2011 in Vegas, I thought he weighed about 115 soaking wet!” White said. “He swung so hard at it I didn’t think he would have much control, didn’t know what had more speed, his downswing or his recoil. But the more I watched, the better I liked him. He hit every fairway or close to it, and he always looked like he was having fun and enjoying himself.”
White didn’t think he had a shot at landing Go, but he remembered the name, sent him an email and the two started Skyping.
Go visited the university in 2013 and was sold.
“I liked the school. It was near New York City and I thought it was a pretty cool place and it would be nice having New York City in my backyard,” Go said.
Go, whose sister, Lois Kaye, is a freshman golfer at Boston College, acknowledges the Northeast does not have perfect weather for a golfer.
“I have experienced always being hot so I wanted to experience something different,” he said. “In the Philippines there are two seasons. Here there are four. I had never seen snow before I came to Seton Hall. I thought it was pretty cool. It was good to experience that. It was also nice to have a break between the fall and spring, where you could catch up on school.”
He learned to play golf in a junior program at a country club in Guadalupe Cebu City, where his parents were members. They didn’t play, but he liked the game and that it offered him a chance to travel and meet people.
Go captured the Big East title last year by shooting an overall 6-under 210 that featured a second-round 7-under 65 to set the course record at Callawassie Golf Club. By winning, he became the first Seton Hall men’s golfer since Eugene Smith in 2000 to compete in an NCAA Regional.
Go is heading into the conference championship after tying a Penn State course record with a 7-under 64 in the final round of the Rutherford Intercollegiate, where finished third.
His 70.6 stroke average for this season is a single-season best at Seton Hall, and his 72.19 career average also is tops at the university.
If there is a part of his game that he wants to fix, it would be being more consistent with his driver.
“As long as I can get the ball in play, I can play,” Go said. “The first two rounds at Penn State I struggled to keep the ball in the fairway. I was in the rough most of the time. The last round I found the fairway more often than not and made my putts.”
Go wants to become a professional golfer. His immediate plans are to go to tour school and make the Japan Tour. There are four stages to qualifying, with the first coming at the end of August. Returning to the United States would be his goal down the line.
If that doesn’t work out, he wants to be a businessman in the Philippines.
Go’s success at Seton Hall has helped White. Sophomore golfer Gen Nagai also comes from the Philippines and White just got a verbal commitment from another young man from Cebu for next fall.