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.

Ball wasn’t sure what to expect out of McNulty this year, but the 6-foot-1 Canadian shot 6-under during qualifying to establish himself atop the VCU lineup.

McNulty’s journey is also notable because of his impressive learning curve. He began playing golf when he was 14 and entered his first tournament less than three years ago. But on Saturday, he’ll be the first VCU golfer to tee off in 2012-13.

2012 Tar Heel Intercollegiate, hosted by the University of North Carolina
Sept. 15-16, UNC Finley Golf Course (Par 72, 7,242 yards), Chapel Hill, N.C.

Live scoring available at

VCU Rams lineup
1-Jake McNulty, Fr.
2-Matt Ball Jr., Jr.
3-Steffen Harm, Fr.
4-Rocky Khara, Jr.
5-Simon Taylor, So.

Participating Teams: Boston College, Duke, East Carolina, East Tennessee State, Furman, Gardner Webb, Maryland, NC State, North Carolina, UNC Charlotte, UNC Greensboro, UNC Wilmington, Note Dame, Virginia Commonwealth

Format: Two-day, 54-hole tournament with 36 holes played on Saturday, Sept. 15 and 18 on Sunday, Sept. 16.