The Marquette men’s golf team is off to a slow start in its final tournament of the season, the Stockton Convention & Visitors Bureau Pacific Invitational.
The Golden Eagles currently sit in 12th place in the field of 12 teams with an overall score of 296 (12-over par), seven shots off of the next highest spot and 18 shots off the lead.
Coach Steve Bailey said his team had simply put up too many big numbers in the first round of play and failed to take advantage of the layout of the course.
“We had a couple triples, a quad and a couple bogeys,” Bailey said. “This is a golf course where you can make a lot of birdies, especially on the par-fives, and we didn’t take advantage of the par-5 today and dug a pretty big hole for ourselves.”
Bailey said his team once again showed some good signs, but for every bright moment, there was an equal or greater set back that derailed the round for his team.
“(Sophomore) Michael (Motz) played a decent round and shot even par (Monday) and (sophomore) Corey (Konieczki) had a 3-under (par) at one point, but then had a nine on a par-4,” Bailey said. “(Freshman) CJ (Swift) was one under at one point and had a triple bogey on hole number 16, and then (senior) Matt (Haase) had a triple bogey and two double bogeys.”
Behind Motz’s even-par 71 and Swift’s 74 (3-over par) the scores tapered off for Marquette. Haase and Konieczki finished a combined 9-over par and freshman Will Joiner rounded out the team at 10-over par.
Motz said despite leading the team, his struggles on the green kept him from finishing under par.
“I just really didn’t make many putts. I think I made one outside of five feet for the whole day,” Motz said. “I don’t know if we didn’t play smart or if it was just poor execution, but we had too many big numbers.”
Swift also said he didn’t make the birdie putts he needed to and devoted extra time to his short game in yesterday’s practice session.
“Coach (Bailey) told us to assess our own games after the first round, and go from there,” Swift said. “I saw some guys who had trouble hitting off the tee using some different drivers, and some guys who struggled with their short game taking some chip shots and shots from the bunker. I spent three quarters of an hour just putting and trying to get a feel for the greens.”
Swift, now playing in his fourth tournament, said he no longer considers himself a freshman and considers everybody on the team experienced enough to win. With that excuse no longer present he said that finishing the tournament strong is the team’s top priority.
“We’re a team now,” Swift said. “We’re all experienced and we all just need to play aggressively from here on out.”
Bailey said the Golden Eagles still want to make something of their last fall tournament and to do that, Marquette would need to play better on the back nine and take advantage of the course.
“Obviously you always want to have some motivation going into the winter, and you want to end on a high note,” Bailey said. “Our guys showed good signs (Monday), but when it comes down to it you have to close the deal. And I think if we can do that out here (Tuesday), we can really make a move.”