WELLSBURG — Former Brooke standout golfer Ryan Bilby ended his high school career with three straight individual OVAC championships and back-to-back state titles.
Now he is already making an impact at the next level as he finished his first year with the third-best average on the Marshall golf team at 74.10.
Bilby led the team in two different tournaments this year as he finished tied for 10th at Loyola with a 212 after shooting a team-best 69 on the opening day of the event. He also led the way for the Thundering Herd at the Dayton Invitational, with a tournament card of 218 to finish 13th overall.
He also delivered his lowest score of 67 on the final day of the Mountaineer Invitational to finish second on the team in the tournament with a 222.
While Bilby has made it easy to adapt to the college game, he insists it’s a lot harder than it looks.
“It’s a big adjustment,” Bilby said. “It took a few months to get the swing of things. In high school, you never compete with your teammates for qualifying spots. Now I compete every day against the guys I hang out with all the time.
Although Bilby competes with his own teammates, he also cheers them on with every swing of the golf club.
“We just want to win,” Bilby said. “We know what a good golf team we are. It’s much less an individual game and more a team effort.
Bilby’s favorite moment of the season actually came when the team flourished the most as the herd won their own invitation – the Joe Feaganes Marshall Invitational.
“We hadn’t won a tournament for three years,” Bilby said. “It was also the first time that we won our home event. It was so special and so much fun. It was by far the coolest time of the year.
Tyler Jones led the way at this home tournament with a 209, which also led the team this year with an average of 71.44.
He was instrumental in helping Bilby adapt to the college game and was also a close friend of the former state champion.
“Tyler is really good,” Bilby said. “He had an amazing spring season averaging below 70. You rarely see that in college golf. We are really good friends. We practice together and I learned so much from him. He’s a big part of how I got to where I am now.
Not only is Bilby adapting to next-level play, but he’s also learning to travel to new places across the country.
“I’ve never played in Arizona before and it was probably the best week I’ve had all year,” Bilby said. “The weather was beautiful. We went to Saint Simons Island in Georgia, 11 hours away. We flew to Myrtle Beach. We flew to Texas for the conference tournament. I was never Been to Texas before.There were a lot of places I haven’t been to and I had only flown once before this season so it wasn’t bad at all.
After a season of new experiences, Bilby is already aiming for next year with high hopes for the Thundering Herd.
“I just hope to play better,” Bilby said. “I try not to think too much. I’m just doing what I can to help us win. I’d much rather win as a team than on my own.
He’s in the perfect place for a team attitude, where the main motto is “We Are Marshall”.