MCNULTY IS LAST IN, FIRST OUT

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Freshman Jake McNulty started playing golf competitively just three years ago.

RICHMOND, Va. – Although he’s a year early, Jake McNulty may be right on time.

McNulty, a 17-year-old freshman, will be the No. 1 golfer in VCU’s lineup Sept. 15-16 when the Rams open the year at the Tar Heel Intercollegiate tournament in Chapel Hill, N.C. McNulty earned the No. 1 position after winning VCU Coach Matt Ball’s six-round (108-hole) qualifier. It’s a remarkable development, given that McNulty wasn’t even supposed to be on the team a little over a month ago.

A native of Port Perry, Ontario, where he participated in a Canadian Juniors program led by former VCU great Reg Millage, McNulty was Ball’s top recruiting target for 2013. Although he graduated from Port Perry High School in 2012, McNulty had planned to wait a year before enrolling in college, due in large part to his age.

But on July 30, Ball says he was informed that top golfer Marc Dobias would not be returning to the program, so he reached out to McNulty to see if he would be interested in VCU this year. McNulty visited the Richmond campus on Aug. 12 and committed the same day. He returned for good on Aug. 20.

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WHERE ARE THEY NOW? REG MILLAGE

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Reg Millage recently son Billy and daughter Anna

Maybe it’s too early to call it, but Reg Millage’s 4 ½-year-old son Billy seems to be a chip off the old block.

“My little guy is playing the bunkers and hitting some shots and having fun riding around in the golf cart. That’s what it’s all about right now,” Millage, a 2000 VCU graduate says.

When and if Billy, or Millage’s 17-month-old daughter Anna, for that matter, decides to take up golf more seriously, they’ll have an accomplished teacher waiting in the wings.

Millage, more than a decade removed from his days as a two-time Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year (1999 and 2000) and 1999 All-American, has transitioned smoothly into his role as director of junior player development at the Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario.

A native of Ennismore, Ontario, Millage, 34, provides instruction and advises junior golfers in the hope that someday they’ll become successful college and professional players.

“We’ve got a really good junior program here,” Millage, a member of four CAA Championship teams at VCU, says. “We’re working with groups of kids, trying to create an all-inclusive program. We’re ultimately trying to get one to [a place like] VCU one day, trying to develop some kids that would get a Division I scholarship.”

Millage was named All-America in 1999 and collected two CAA Player of the Year awards (’99, ’00) at VCU.

There are kids as young as 4 years old in the program, but most don’t start moving into a competitive mode until around 10. That’s where Millage comes in.

Millage starred for VCU from 1996-2000, first under late Hall of Fame Coach Jack Bell, then under current Rams’ Coach Matt Ball. He won the CAA’s Rookie of the Year award in 1997 and grabbed the first of his four All-CAA First Team citations. In 2000, one year after earning All-America honors, he qualified as an individual for the NCAA Golf Championship.

After graduating from VCU in 2000 with a degree in business, Millage spent a few years playing as a full-time professional golfer. Off the course, he married his high school sweetheart Lesley in 2006. Around the same time, Millage decided to dedicate more time to his teaching efforts.

“It was always a bit of a natural fit,” he said of coaching. “I enjoyed playing the game a lot and competing and this was a way to stay involved with it.”

When he was growing up in Ontario, Millage never had the benefit of a program like the one at Glen Abbey. But in 2010, the International Olympic Committee announced that golf would be added to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The decision led to an increased interest by the Canadian government in creating a system for developing youth golfers. It also means Millage will likely have no problem staying busy in the near future.

When he’s not teaching golf, he’s showing that he can still play a little too. Millage is ranked in the top 20 among club professionals in Canada and won an Order of Merit from Ontario in 2009 for his efforts.

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