Marquette Men’s Golf: Bailey says team is ‘really close’

Sophomore Michael Motz finished tied for 15th at Bandon Dunes in Bandon, Ore., this weekend. Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

The Marquette men’s golf team climbed a little higher up the ladder Sunday, finishing up play in 10th place in the 15-team Bandon Dunes Championship. The results still fell short of the Golden Eagles’ expectations, but finishing five spots out of last place was an improvement that coach Steve Bailey could take pride in.

“I think we’re really close,” Bailey said. “We saw good signs from Will Joiner in the second round and Adam Chester played really well the final day. If we can continue to piece this together and have our guys show up in the same round, we can have a pretty successful spring.”

Bailey said he was impressed with his team’s performance on a unique course and a tough field featuring the No. 3 Washington Huskies and No. 9 ranked Oregon Ducks. Both factors along with better weather conditions than anticipated created an environment that Bailey said the team enjoyed.

“(The Bandon Dunes) is the greatest golf destination in the U.S.,” Bailey said. “It was a special treat for our guys. The weather on the actual tournament days wasn’t all that bad, but the preparation days were definitely rough like we thought they were going to be, but we were prepared.”

Sophomore Michael Motz led Marquette for the second tournament in a row, tying for 15th place on the individual leaderboard at seven over par. Motz shot one over par 72 in the first round followed by a 73 in the second and capped off his tournament with a 75 on Sunday.

“I think I really just stayed away from making any big mistakes,” Motz said. “I didn’t make a whole lot of birdies to help myself out, but I also didn’t make any big numbers. After a while though, the course just kind of wore on me. I started to get a little frustrated with my putting, and I let it get to me a little too much.”

Junior Ryan Prickette came in second for the Golden Eagles, finishing in a tie for 30th place at 10 over par. Prickette was pleased with his performance, despite the added difficulty the design of the course threw at him.

“I struck the ball really, really well, and I didn’t hit too many shots far off from where I intended for them to go,” Prickette said. “It wasn’t the traditional golf course like we play in the Midwest so you would feel like you hit it in the right spot and it would take a goofy hop and end up in a not-so-good spot. Despite that though, I felt like I had more control over the golf ball than I’ve had in a long time, and I’m excited to play again.”

Both Motz and Prickette beat out Oregon’s Eugene Wong, the No. 3 golfer in the nation, on the leaderboard. While success at the individual level was there again for the Golden Eagles, Bailey said that improving the team’s finishes as a whole, particularly on the greens, remains its central focus.

“We’ve shown some success for individuals at certain times but we still haven’t brought it all together in the same round,” Bailey said. “This place was tricky and the greens were a little bigger, but I feel like our short game is getting a lot better.”

Motz said the team still has a long way to go but that the determination to produce a concerted effort is visible to him.

“We’re tired of finishing near the bottom, and we’re doing whatever we can to improve on our finishes, and we’re still very motivated,” Motz said.