OHIO CITY, Oh - Connor Malicki has committed to Kent State University to continue his academic and golf career at the next level. The senior is a returning golfer from the 2021 State Championship team a season ago and looks forward to competing for another State Title this season.
“Last year, I reached out to a bunch of schools and over time, I got to know Kent State well,” explains Malicki. “I went to a camp during the winter and got to know their coaching staff. The coaches know the game well and can serve as a connection to hopefully play professionally one day.”
Malicki will join a program at Kent State with a tremendous amount of professional golf experience among the coaching staff. Head Golf Coach at Kent State University is Jon Mills. Mills has competed in the PGA Tour and the US Open. The assistant coach is Ryan Yip, a professional golfer who competed in the Canada PGA Tour.
“Kent State has a tremendous golf program and storied history. Many household PGA tour names like Corey Conners, Mackenzie Hughes and Taylor Pendrith are Kent State grads, along with 2003 Open Champion Ben Curtis,” Head Golf Coach PJ Myers ’99. “Kent State is a top NCAA program. Jon Mills and Ryan Yip are two phenomenal players, coaches and well-rounded family guys.”
The decision for Malicki came before the start of the 2022 season. “It is such a relief to be committed before the season,” says Malicki. “It was a goal of mine to be committed before the season so I can focus on the team and season. I want to bring another state championship to the program.”
Golf is a year-round sport and for Malicki, he was busy during the off-season of high school golf. Over the summer, he and fellow teammate Nick Piesen qualified for the US Junior Amateur in Oregon at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. Malicki also competed at the American Junior Golf Association, where he would hit his first ever hole-in-one.
“I am extremely excited for Conner. He has worked so hard for this opportunity. He’s had such a fantastic summer and deserves all the credit,” says Myers. “I think Kent State saw something extraordinary in him at camp this winter. Connor has flown under the radar and came out strong last high school season, which warranted some attention. So for him to play the golf he always knew he was capable of, the last few months opened up some doors for him. I think everything is falling into place very nicely.”
Malicki is coming off a season with the Varsity Blue Cats that captured the program’s third-ever State Championship. “That team was special; we wanted it so badly,” Malicki says. “We got it done after 20 years of not winning the championship. It was a huge relief.”
The Wildcat Golf team is in full swing in their new season and is off to a great start. They recently won back-to-back invitationals at the St. Xavier Invitational and the AIGA Classic in Columbus. This team is primed for another State Championship to run in Columbus come October. “We have a ton of talent, just as much as last year,” Malicki says. “We must stick together as a group and we will be just fine.”
Malicki is one of four senior leaders on the Varsity Blue team this season. He joins Piesen, who is committed to the next level as Piesen will be heading to Indiana University. Malicki will become a Golden Flash next fall, competing for a Division I program.