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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette Golf: Things finally coming together after good fall season

Senior Ryan Prickette thinks the team has a swagger it hasn’t had in past years. Photo courtesy of Marquette Images.

Every year, the Marquette golf team uses the fall to get a feel for its roster and its capabilities. It’s a time of transition and preparation for the spring, or at least that’s what the Golden Eagles have tried to make it over the last four years.

In coach Steve Bailey’s first two years, fall disappointments transformed into even bigger spring disappointments. Coming into the 2012-13 season, Marquette hadn’t won a tournament since the 2008 Big East Championship.

This autumn, however, something clicked.

At the onset it looked like it could be another long year of low finishes for the Golden Eagles. Once again, there were a lot of new faces and the team’s lone senior, Ryan Prickette, was due to graduate in December.

Marquette finished 12th out of 16 teams in its first event, The McLaughlin, and followed that up with an 11th place finish at the Windon Memorial Classic.

It came down to the same explanations and issues the team had dealt with in the past. The team didn’t play deep enough, or the putting wasn’t there, or the course was too windy and conditions were rough.

But then, like that fickle wind and weather would so often do at Marquette’s expense, the team’s fortunes changed on a dime.

Seemingly out of nowhere, Marquette scored its first tournament win in four years at the John Dallio Memorial. Led by freshman Nick Nelson, the Golden Eagles had their most complete performance in Bailey’s tenure and kept their stride for all three rounds.

Marquette quickly crashed back down to earth two weeks later at the Pinetree Intercollegiate, placing dead last in the field of 12.

But then, as if to prove its John Dallio win was no fluke, it accomplished another feat past teams had failed to fulfill. It bounced back.

In their final event of the fall, the Golden Eagles faced their largest field yet. With 25 other teams competing at the Wendy’s Kiawah Classic, Bailey said he would’ve been happy with a top 10 showing. They placed fifth.

This time, another freshman, Patrick Sanchez, led the charge. After a lackluster start in the first two rounds, Sanchez came back with a phenomenal 68 in the third.

In a sense, his performance epitomized the entire attitude of this year’s team.

“We keep talking about potential, but you have to come through at some point,” Bailey said. “Patrick came through there. I know we’re taking steps in the right direction and it’s going to be all about sticking to our plan going forward.”

“It feels really great to make an impact right off the bat; I feel like the team’s going to get better,” Sanchez said.

Prickette saw a definite difference between this squad and the others he’s played on in his Marquette career. He said the team’s improvement had less to do with physical play and a lot more to do with its mental game.

“The big difference was just the team as a whole going out there with confidence,” Prickette said. “We didn’t have that swagger in past years, but this year I feel like we carried ourselves with that confidence. It came from the way that we practiced and created a competitive environment in practice. We had an attitude of wanting to prove that we could win.”

This winter the team still has its list of concerns, with putting remaining a big one. But even that’s being handled with a positive, competitive edge.

“We’re going to have a game to see who puts the most hours of practice in this winter,” Sanchez said. “I’m really looking forward to using the facilities at the gym to work on my short game.”

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