Freshman Patrick Sanchez joined coach Steve Bailey’s roster a few weeks ago along with three other newcomers. In that short amount of time, however, the Mazatlan, Mexico, native has established himself as a potential leader for the young Golden Eagles, notably finishing in the top spot for Marquette last weekend in its first tournament.
Bailey said Sanchez has already displayed leadership ability and qualities that usually take time to develop.
“(Sanchez has) come in right away and taken on a leadership role, and that’s not too common in freshmen,” Bailey said. “Usually they sit back a little bit and take things in.”
One such quality Bailey observed during a team retreat is Sanchez’s openness to discussion rather than going with the current flow and trends the team may fall into.
“He’s shown a lot of honesty and openness, which is important to us when we are trying to discuss how we need to get better,” Bailey said. “It’s been impressive to see that at such a young age he has such a high level of maturity.”
Sanchez was born and raised in Mexico by a Canadian mother and Mexican father, growing up fluent in both Spanish and English. His talent as a golfer gave him the opportunity to represent the Mexican national team, where he was able to compete in tournaments all over the continent.
“I started playing for (the national team) when I was around 12 after I had won my first national championship, and I won a couple more after that,” Sanchez said. “They took me to Junior Worlds and the Optimist and a lot of other tournaments in the United States. It’s a great honor to get the opportunity to represent your country that I did with them.”
It was while Sanchez was representing Mexico that Bailey found him after observing him in several big junior tournaments.
“We actually followed him in Arizona and watched him at the Thunderbird International Junior in Scottsdale,” Bailey said. “We watched him at the Junior Worlds in San Diego, and then he actually won the U.S. Junior Amateur qualifier at Watertown Country Club in Wisconsin.”
Sanchez said Bailey’s personality was one of the main reasons he chose Marquette and felt that he and the coach could work well together to leave a positive impact on the team.
He’s already left a big impact on his freshman roommates, Nick Nelson and Zach Gaugert. Nelson said he couldn’t have previously imagined how much fun the trio would be having together at this point and that they’ve gotten along famously to begin the season.
“(Sanchez) puts the ball out there quite a long ways,” Nelson said. “He’s almost like a machine the way he strikes it every time and doesn’t leave much room between the ball and the hole. He’s also an awesome guy, and we’ve gotten along as best friends and practically brothers since we got here.”
Despite his teammate’s ravings about his driving ability, Sanchez believes his short game is his strength, but that he would like to focus on his consistency and discipline during the season.
Bailey said Sanchez fits in well with what the team is trying to do this season.
“He’s had a ton of international experience and is obviously at a high competitive level,” Bailey said. “He’s been good for the team, not just for that competitiveness but for the amount of positive energy he’s brought. That’s kind of been the theme early on for us.”