Graphic by Brian Georgeson
Coach: Steve Bailey (7th year)
2015-’16 Finish: Fourth in BIG EAST Championships
Key Departures: Zach Gaugert, Nick Nelson, Pat Sanchez, CJ Swift
Incoming Freshmen: Matthew Bachmann, Ferdinand Müller, Matt Murlick
Players to Watch: Oliver Farrell, Charlie Maleki
Overview: Despite losing four of their top six scorers from the previous season, the Golden Eagles have plenty to be excited about for the 2016-17 campaign. Much of the excitement will stem from the recent successes of sophomores Oliver Farrell and Charlie Maleki. Farrell, a Second Team All-BIG EAST selection, led Marquette in scoring last year with an average low of 73.23 and has cemented himself as one of the best on the team.
Maleki also had an impressive freshman season with three rounds below par. The Wisconsin native continued to show off his skill set this summer at state events, and was even able to secure a highly-coveted spot at the 2016 US Amateur Championship.
“His climb over the last year has been quite impressive,” Bailey said. “It’s been fun watching his game elevate.”
Although the top two spots on the roster will likely be filled by Farrell and Maleki, there are quite a few questions regarding the rest of the team. The only senior for Marquette golf will be Henry Klongland, who competed in just three rounds this past season. The lack of experience will provide other players the opportunity to play more prominent roles on the team.
“It’s wide open in terms of who is going to be out there competing,” Bailey said.
Look for a guy like Garrett Loomis to see more action this season. The junior was able to improve his season average from 79.56 to 73.91 from his freshman to sophomore year, and should be a favorite to crack the starting five. The door is also open for the three incoming freshmen to get immediate competitive playing experience.
Many coaches could view the lack of roster clarity as a concern. Bailey said that he sees it as an opportunity for the younger players to prove themselves. He even noted that excitement level is the highest he’s seen during his seven years.
“I think that every one of them knows they have a good shot to really make a big impact in what we are doing,” Bailey said.
Despite the air of opportunity and potential, it is hard to ignore the graduation of four seniors. Gaugert, Nelson and Sanchez totaled more than 100 rounds during their tenures as Marquette golfers, while Swift totaled 97 rounds in the blue and gold. Sanchez was BIG EAST Player of the Year for the 2014-’15 season.
“Those four guys were the core of our leadership, and so not only from a playing perspective, but a leadership perspective, there is going to be a void left there,” Bailey said.
But who will fill this void? That is the biggest question for this young 2016-’17 Marquette golf team.
Other news and notes:
Steve Bailey added a member to his coaching staff Aug. 17 with the hiring of Gator Todd. The former All-SEC player for Alabama also has some experience at the professional level with the Web.com Tour.
“Seeing Zach Johnson and Davis Love and all these guys and getting to practice with them everyday, there’s a lot he’s going to be able to bring to our program,” Bailey said.
In other news, the Marquette Invitational will move locations for the this upcoming season. Due to the US Open taking place at Erin Hills in 2017, the course is closing down early. The Golden Eagles will now host their invitational at Milwaukee Country Club Oct. 2-3.