McDonald, MU conclude disappointing season

It wasn’t supposed to be this bad.

Just two years removed from a conference championship, the Marquette men’s golf team finished one of the most disappointing seasons in coach Tim Grogan’s 19-year tenure with an underwhelming tie for ninth place at the Big East Championship and an interim coach at the helm due to Grogan’s indefinite leave of absence.

“We had a rough year,” junior Kelly Kretz said. “It would have been nice to have had a chance, going into those last nine holes, to win. It wasn’t there.”

The Golden Eagles shot a combined score of 895 (306-288-301) — 22 strokes behind the champion Georgetown — to tie Rutgers for ninth place.

“It’s disappointing because we played well in North Carolina and we had all been playing well back here those few days leading up to before we left,” Kretz said. “We really went into it thinking we could win it, but we dug ourselves into a pretty big hole after the first day, shooting a 306.”

Part of the reason for the high numbers shot on the first day was a torrential downpour that caused a rain delay after five holes.

“We played through some of the worst conditions,” interim coach Jim Nasiopulos said. “We teed off in the rain and played until play was stopped.

“I think our team played in a bit of a panic mode and any time you have those conditions you have to slow down.”

Although the team’s results did not live up to its expectations, senior Mike McDonald said it was not for a lack of effort.

“The results don’t look good, but that doesn’t show that the guys went out there and we all tried our hardest to make birdies and shoot low and give ourselves an opportunity,” Mcdonald said. “There’s no reason to hang your head at that. Looking at every guy on that team, I give them credit. It was a battle out there, and I don’t think any of us were really playing our best, so we had to play a tough golf course without our best swing.”

There were two bright spots interspersed in the gloomy results. Kretz finished two strokes off the lead, shooting 4-over 217 for the tournament and tying for eighth place.

“Overall I was pretty pleased with it,” Kretz said. “I got up and down a lot this week. I left some shots out there, so I was surprised to find out that I finished only two shots behind.”

Kretz found himself 4-over just five holes in, but following a rain delay, played the rest of the tournament, 49 holes, even par.

“That’s kind of where I lost the tournament, those first five holes and the par-5,” Kretz said. “But looking back on it, I probably didn’t hit the ball well enough to win the tournament.”

McDonald, Marquette’s lone senior, was the other bright spot to come out of the tournament. McDonald shot a 6-over 219 for the tournament, finishing in a tie for 15th place.

The tournament took added significance for McDonald, whose golf career at Marquette has come to an end.

“I was just happy to go out there and have this year to play a full season,” McDonald said. “I never got to have that before. I was just happy to have the opportunity to go out and play at every event and finally get my feet under me and find a comfort level that I really hadn’t been able to find in years past.”