The Marquette men’s golf team started its 2012-13 season at The McLaughlin in Old Bethpage, N.Y., finishing in 12th place out of 16 teams.
It was the first NCAA tournament action seen by four members of coach Steve Bailey’s squad, and while the tournament showed that the team still has a lot of room to grow, Bailey was quick to take positives from the weekend.
One of those positives came in the form of freshman Patrick Sanchez leading the Golden Eagles with an overall score of 217.
Sanchez finished in a tie for 31st place, firing a 70 in the second round while staying at even-par with a 72 in the first before struggling in the third with a 75. Sanchez said his finish left him with an increased sense of responsibility, and he was happy to have the opportunity to lead the team early.
“It feels great to represent Marquette like that right off the bat,” Sanchez said. “I like the other guys on the team, and it meant a lot to get out there and lead the team so early in the season.”
Sanchez said the course had more hills than the team is accustomed to and as a result he felt his physical game was a little off.
“It wasn’t the best weekend for me physically, but I thought I had a good mental game,” Sanchez said. “In the second round after the first eight holes I thought going up to the 18th and birdieing on that hole to get me back even was a high point.”
Sanchez pointed out that the Golden Eagles should focus on learning where to miss shots in certain situations.
“If we miss in the wrong spots it puts us in tough positions down the stretch,” Sanchez said.
Senior Ryan Prickette also said that while the team’s initial conservative approach to the course was appropriate, it held the team back overall.
“We had a good game plan, our strategy was pretty conservative, but I feel like we could’ve been a lot more aggressive and taken more advantage of our birdie opportunities,” Prickette said.
Birdies were indeed tough to come by for the majority of the weekend, and Bailey said it held the team back from finishing higher.
“It was an average performance overall, and if we had converted on some more birdies, we would’ve been more successful,” Bailey said. “It’s just a matter of making more putts in key situations, and I feel like if we do that this weekend in Chicago we should be fine.”
Putting has historically been an issue for the Golden Eagles as Bailey has said in the past, and with plenty of new faces on the roster, the team believes that as the season goes on the kinks will need to be hammered out.
Prickette said he was impressed with the younger players’ performances for the most part and that the first tournament was a big step toward growth as a team.
Marquette will get its next shot to improve this weekend at the Windon Memorial Classic in Glencoe, Ill.