Van Sickle struggles early in amateur career

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Former Marquette golfer and member of the 2009 PING All-America First Team Mike Van Sickle has participated in three PGA Tour events since graduation and has yet to make a cut.

Van Sickle said getting cut at the U.S. Bank Championship was the biggest letdown so far because the tournament was in Milwaukee and he had the opportunity to play in front of friends, family and Marquette alumni.

“I disappointed many people, including myself,” Van Sickle said.

In two rounds at the U.S. Bank Championship he shot 3-over par and missed the cut by four shots.

Mike McDonald, current senior on the Marquette men’s golf team and caddy for Van Sickle during the U.S. Bank Championship, said Van Sickle tried to do too much while playing in front of the local crowd.

“Most golfers normally swing about 85 or 90 percent,” McDonald said. “Mike told me he was swinging 100 percent every swing. When you do that you’re going to have less control of the ball.”

McDonald said Van Sickle had a few 9-iron and wedge shots that missed the green because he was too aware of his place on the verge of the cut line. In Van Sickle’s first PGA appearance, at the John Deere Classic, he shot 1-under par in two rounds and missed the cut by two, but he was 4-under par through 12 holes in his first round.

“The way I struck the ball, I felt I was the best player in my threesome,” Van Sickle said of his play in the first round, “but I just didn’t finish.”

Van Sickle opted not to seek membership in the PGA tour this summer in order to maintain his amateur status with aspiration to be named a member of the 2009 U.S. Walker Cup team — a hope that has yet to become a reality.
Of the 10 players on the team, eight have already been named, Van Sickle said. The other two will be named sometime in the near future.

Van Sickle still has a shot to be added to the Walker Cup team, but after being knocked out by Byeong-Hun An in 20 holes in the round of 16 at the U.S. Amateur, his optimism is fading. “Hopefully I’ll get a call here in the next few days,” he said.

Van Sickle may not make the Walker Cup team, but he competed in the Palmer Cup, an international collegiate event between the United States and a combination of players from Great Britain and Ireland. He set the tournament record for scoring the largest margin of victory in a singles match when he defeated Leonardo Motts 8 and 7, meaning Van Sickle was up eight holes with seven holes to go.

“Mike isn’t afraid to go out and run away with something,” said Kelly Kretz, former teammate and junior on the Marquette men’s golf team. “He’s not the type of guy who’s going to come back to the field. The 8 and 7 victory shows you that he can do that.”

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