Occhiuto breaks out in sophomore season



When sophomore golfer Anthony Occhiuto set a school record in September, “it was awesome,” he said.

Occhiuto, who is majoring in communication studies, reached Titan immortality by carding a 204 over 54 holes, edging Kyler Murphy’s 2005 mark by one shot.

Occhiuto said he felt happy because his performance brought a measure of success to the golf program.

But it wasn’t the end of his triumphs.

As the fall season concludes, Occhiuto leads the team with a 72.71 average – within striking distance of another team record.

Scott Sparks, captain of the golf team, said Occhiuto, a Canadian, was a welcome addition to the team.

“We wanted him bad,” said Sparks, a senior majoring in communication studies. “He is an unbelievable golfer and a better kid.”

Sparks has known Occhiuto for a couple years.

Occhiuto has been playing golf since age 3.

When he was young, his parents got him to try a variety of sports: basketball, soccer and golf.

As he progressed, he focused on golf.

Occhiuto comes from a family of athletes.

His father played hockey at the university level.

His grandfather played professional soccer in Europe.

Occhiuto said his usual days back home, near Toronto, are simple.

They consist of him waking up to work out at 6 a.m., going back home to have breakfast, going back to practice, getting lunch and heading back to practice.

His day usually ends around 10 p.m. when he’s in bed.

However, at Detroit Mercy, with homework, classes and practice, he sleeps later.

He said his first semester was the hardest.

He juggled 18 credits.

“Anthony has a lot of talent,” said Titan golf coach Erik Taurence. “We didn’t even know he broke the record until we got to the van.”

Sparks said he has high expectations for his teammate.

He envisions him becoming a leader on the course and growing into a leader off the course.

Occhiuto said his main goal is to become a professional golfer when done with school.

Coach Taurence said Occhiuto has high aspirations for himself. He knows Occhiuto wants to play professionally.

“It’s my job to assist him in reaching that goal,” he said.

Occhiuto said he likes the pressure on him.

He said it makes him want to do the best he can.

“He’s an amazing golfer but he’s an even better person,” said Taurence.