MICHIGAN CITY | To say Tyler Paholski spent his freshman season in the shadow of older brother Hunter might be an exaggeration.
Both Paholskis bounced around the top three spots in the Marquette Catholic boys golf lineup in 2013. Still, big brother was always there – often paired with the younger Paholski – as the Blazers played their way to a seventh-place finish at the Lafayette Jeff regional.
Now, with Hunter graduated out of the program, Tyler – just a sophomore – is ready to step into the No. 1 slot and take up the leadership reins of the young Blazers squad.
“My brother showed me a lot about golf, everything I need to know,” Paholski said. “I should just keep doing what he taught me and keep playing my game.
“I’m not going to try to make it seem like a big deal. I’ve played a lot without him. It’s not like this is the first time. I’m just going to go out there and play my game the best that I can.”
Including the elder Paholski, Marquette graduated a trio of four-year lettermen at the end of last season. Without a senior on the roster this year, Tyler Paholski knows the team will look to his experience for guidance. It’s a challenge he readily accepts.
“I’ve always liked leading,” Paholski said. “I’ll just try to help my team do the best that they can; along the way, show them how to play and teach them some of the things they don’t know yet.”
Saddled with a young roster, fourth-year coach Jordan Gallas will rely on Paholski and freshman Hank Littleton at the top of his lineup. But Gallas knows that the entire region graduated a lot of talent at the end of last season, and he believes Paholski will be one of the best players in the area.
“Last year, the region was so strong with so many good players,” Gallas said. “We all graduated so many kids out of the area and Ty was only a freshman. He’s definitely capable of putting together some low numbers. It doesn’t really matter the golf course he plays, he’s just a special player. I think he’ll have a real solid season.”
With older brother Hunter on Marquette’s team the last four seasons, Tyler Paholski has grown up in the program. Gallas knows the younger Paholski, though only a sophomore, has the seasoning of a veteran player thanks to that experience.
“He’s been around the program a long time,” Gallas said. “He’s been at practice; I’ve always kind of included him in everything because I knew he was able to keep up with the varsity kids and I knew he was eventually going to be going to Marquette, so I wanted to get him playing with better kids growing up.
“Last year was a real seamless transition for him getting into the lineup. His transition to our No. 1 isn’t going to be this huge undertaking for him. I know he’s ready. He’s ready for it to be his team.”
The Blazers are the three-time defending Greater South Shore Conference champions, but with high roster turnover this season Paholski knows his younger teammates will have to have that tradition of success engrained in them via his leadership.
“I’m just going to try my best; hopefully we can get another (title),” Paholski said. “I’ll help everybody out and let them know to leave it all on the course, just try their best. If we win it, we win it.
“I just love being on the course every day, getting better and working on my game.”
Despite the young lineup, Gallas is looking forward to what looks to be another successful season at Marquette. And with a sophomore in the No. 1 slot, the future is bright for Blazers boys golf.
“We don’t really have a lot of older players. Tyler’s definitely going to be the most experienced player,” Gallas said. “He’s been around the program for so long, I feel like I’ve already had him for a few years. I’m lucky to have him and lucky that’s he’s only a sophomore. It’s going to be a great three years.”