SEASON PREVIEW: Marquette golf adds freshmen, new assistant coach in 2019

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SEASON PREVIEW: Marquette golf adds freshmen, new assistant coach in 2019

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How does a squad of eight lose almost half of its team and get better? By adding the former No. 1 amateur golf player in the world to its coaching staff.

Chris Williams is joining the men’s golf staff as an assistant coach after previously working at the University of Washington, the team announced Sept. 3.

“First and foremost, he’s a quality person and has the values that are important to our program,” head coach Steve Bailey said. “With his combination of his character and his experiences as a player, he’s going to be invaluable to our team and our growth of the program.”

Williams will replace former assistant coach Trake Carpenter, who left for a position at Stanford University in August.

Bailey, a four-time BIG EAST Coach of the Year, will return for his 10th season as head coach.

Besides the addition of Williams, Bailey will add three new freshman players to his roster: Aidan Lafferty of Downers Grove North, Josh Robinson of Lisburn, Northern Ireland, and Bhoom Sima-Aree of Nonthaburi, Thailand.

Bailey said he has high expectations for his new players. Key returners include senior Matt Murlick, junior Hunter Eichhorn and sophomore Tyler Leach, who won BIG EAST Freshman of the Year last season. Eichhorn was First Team All-BIG EAST last year, and Murlick was a Second Team honoree.

“We certainly lost three good players last year, and so they’ll certainly have to come in and have (to) make an impact right away,” Bailey said. “We have eight players on this team, so three is nearly half of our team … but it’s no different.”

Bailey, the veteran coach, doesn’t view being a freshman as an obstacle on the course.

“We always tell them that the ball is the same size (as) the hole, and it’s the same game they’ve been playing their entire life,” Bailey said. “The golf courses might be a little longer and a little more difficult, but we recruited them for a reason.”

The Gopher Invitational is the first meet of the season, and Bailey said the team will embrace the opportunity. Sima-Aree is in the lineup for the first meet, per a tweet Saturday evening.

“The message has been to keep evaluating and seeing where we need to keep moving forward and creating an environment to allow all of us to thrive as a team,” Bailey said. “Our guys’ goals is to have strong character and to bring positive energy every day.”

With that in mind, Bailey said the idea of always facing adversity can help them become a better team. The Golden Eagles lost Oliver Farrell, Austin Kendziorski and Charlie Maleki to graduation. Farrell was the 2018-’19 BIG EAST Player of the Year and a three-time First Team All-BIG EAST honoree.

“We’re always going to face adversity everyday, and through those moments we need to be gritty and be resilient,” Bailey said. “We don’t try to overwhelm big outcome goals … just doing the little things each day to keep progressing towards improving.”

After having opened the season Sept. 8 at the Gopher Invitational, Marquette travels to Northwestern’s Windon Memorial Classic and Southern Methodist University’s Trinity Forest Invitational Sept. 16.

The Golden Eagles will host the Marquette Intercollegiate at Erin Hills Oct. 6-8 before wrapping up the fall season at Indiana and Hawaii.

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