Marquette golf eyes start to spring 2019 season

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

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Marquette men’s golf returned last week from its annual Alumni Match in Naples, Florida, moving one step closer to the spring 2019 season.

“It’s always a good opportunity to get out and play an extra round and get in some reps,” head coach Steve Bailey said. “It’s also a great chance to interact with the alums as well. It’s great for our guys to see how the program has evolved over the years.”

The spring season starts this weekend at the Puerto Rico Classic. The fall season ended with a third-place finish at the Chatham Hills Collegiate Invitational. Marquette took home first place in two of its five fall invitationals: the Northern Intercollegiate and Windsor Memorial Classic. Bailey said he sees his team’s success in the fall as an opportunity for growth during the offseason.

“We put a big emphasis on strength training,” Bailey said. “On the other side, just continuing to improve in the mental game. We’re putting more emphasis on our routines because it’s so important in our game to be committed to the process.”

While upperclassmen like Oliver Farrell and Matt Murlick are returning, freshmen like Connor Brown and Tyler Leach are ending their first offseason, which lasted about four months.

Brown said the most surprising part of collegiate golf is how short the team’s offseason is. Marquette’s final tournament in 2018 was Oct. 15. The Golden Eagles start up again Feb. 17.

“It gives you a lot of time where you are able to catch up on school work, spend time with friends and get everything else done that’s part of being a college athlete,” Brown said.

Milwaukee’s cold winter means the team practices inside, so the players work more closely with Bailey, allowing Bailey’s individual mentoring to make a bigger impact on the team.

“(Bailey) has been a great mentor to me,” Leach said. “One thing he has talked about a lot is just sticking to our process and pre-shot routine. I think the things that he makes us focus on are really helpful.”

Part of that process is a “weekly measurable.” The idea is that each golfer has a goal he is expected to reach by the end of the week which, in turn, improves his individual game for later invitationals.

The golf program will have a big transition in a few weeks: moving into the new Athletic and Human Performance Research Center, a 46,000-square foot facility with additional weight room space and team-specific space for men’s and women’s lacrosse and golf.

“Obviously, the new building will be huge for our program,” Brown said. “We’ll have access to every indoor facility that we could possibly ask for. In that sense, we won’t be at any disadvantage with any other team in the country.”

The spring season brings lots of anticipation for the Marquette golf team. After losing by three strokes to Georgetown in the 2018 BIG EAST Championship, Bailey said he tries to lead his team one match at a time.

“It’s important for us to see progress and growth,” Bailey said. “We take things that happen in the past and we analyze it. I think we have a pretty special group and can do some special things. Our goals are really process goals that if we can take care of, good things are going to come.”

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