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Alumni corner: College career finally teeing off for Niwot’s Toillion

Niwot graduate Samuel Toillion thought he had figured out the best way to continue his golfing career during and after college, but something was missing.

Graduating from the professional golf management program at the University of Nebraska likely would have led to a career in golf. Toillion, however, realized by the end of his first year he was being groomed for a job in an office or the clubhouse, and not a playing career.

Toillion also began to realize that he had underestimated his own desire to play competitively as a member of a college golf program. He missed it. After a year at Nebraska, Toillion is transferring to Washburn University in Topeka, Kan., for his sophomore year. He will be on the golf team.

“I mostly just wanted to play,” Toillion said. “I’m really excited to try it and get back to doing more of what I like doing most. I was actually kind of happy that I had some time without a bunch of tournaments that really mattered so I could work on my swing. I’ve made quite a few improvements to my game, actually.”

While he always thought that professional golf management program would be his fastest route to a career as a tour player, Toillion said he also held out hope for a while of getting an opportunity with the Nebraska golf team. But a spot on the team never opened up and he couldn’t even get a tryout. So, Toillion sent a golf resume with his tournament results to a handful of schools.

While weighing other offers from the University of Jamestown in North Dakota and Nebraska Wesleyan University, a spring break visit to Washburn sealed the deal. It was the biggest school of his choices and had more to offer him in regards to his preferred academics and the talent level of the golf team.

“I thought that degree would open up more opportunities for playing but there wasn’t quite as much focus on playing golf as I expected,” Toillion said. “But I got to practice a lot during the year and still played a few tournaments. I thought I’d be better off looking to switch to a golf team somewhere for the next year.”

With the Division II Ichabods, Toillion joins a young team that features a lone junior as its eldest player. Having already studied Portuguese, Spanish, French, and currently teaching himself to speak Russian, he will also return to his original academic passion and major in Spanish and French with the possibility of pursuing a graduate degree in linguistics.

“He went to Nebraska with the idea that the PGM would kind of keep him going in golf,” Samuel Toillion’s father Scott Toillion said. “I knew he really wanted to play college golf and experience playing on a team and working to get better through competition. He wasn’t getting that at Nebraska so it started to look like he might need to make a change.”

As a senior at Niwot in 2012, Samuel Toillion placed 64th at the Colorado 4A state golf championships and ended his prep career with an eagle on the par-5 ninth hole at Cobble Creek Golf Course in Montrose.

Samuel Toillion’s younger brother Luke Toillion finished in a four-way tie for 15th place at the 2014 4A state tournament last fall and will be a senior for the 2014 season. Luke Toillion also wants to play college golf but has yet to decide where.

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