First-year golfer making an early impact within program

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First-year golfer Max Lyons lines up his putt. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

TPC Scottsdale. Ak-Chin Southern Dunes. Superstition Mountain Gold Canyon. Papago Golf Club. These are just a few of the top golf courses in Arizona, where Marquette men’s golf first-year Max Lyons is from.

Lyons is a native of Phoenix, and has been a fan of the sport since his early childhood.  

“I would go out to a course near my house once every other week with my dad to play for fun,” Lyons said.  

Lyons said he did not begin playing competitive golf until his first year of high school in 2017, as he had planned on playing hockey and baseball.

“When I quit baseball and hockey my freshmen year, I did not know what was going to happen,” Lyons said. “My parents and I planned on me playing D1 baseball and hockey.” 

He said his heart kept coming back to golf.

“I just liked golf way more,” Lyons said. “As high school came around, I just started to lose passion for both of those sports.”  

Lyons mentioned his first tournament was the OB Winter classic at Palm Valley when he was a first-year at Sandra Day O’Connor high school in Phoenix. 

Even though he was playing in his first year, Lyons did not plan to play golf in high school at first. He would gain more opportunities to grow his game during his junior and senior year.

Lyons, even with limited playing time, began setting new school records, including the lowest nine-hole scoring average of -3.267 under par and the lowest nine-hole match scoring record of -6 (30). He was also first team all-district as a junior and first team all-section as a senior.  

Despite receiving multiple accolades in high school, Lyons said one in particular stands out over the others. 

“I was ranked number one throughout the state my senior year and finishing runner up at the Arizona Division I State Championship in the fall of 2020 after shooting an 8-under 132,” Lyons said. 

When it came to choosing schools for college, Lyons said he had some difficulty.

“Because my game developed a little later, I did not have many options,” Lyons said. “A lot of the big schools already committed their players.” 

Then Lyons received an email from Marquette head coach Steve Bailey expressing interest in joining the team in Milwaukee. 

“He caught our attention with his emphasis on winning,” Bailey said. “Guys who put themselves in that position to win at the competitive level become accustomed to it.”  

For Lyons, he said the two biggest reasons why he chose the Golden Eagles were his relationship with Bailey and the facilities Marquette has to offer.

“When I committed and chose Marquette, I was super happy because my goal since I started to play competitive was to play at a Division I school,” Lyons said.

Lyons is one of the highest-ranked recruits in program history, sitting at No. 14 in the Golfweek Class of 2021 rankings at the time he signed his letter of intent to join the Golden Eagles.

During his senior season in 2020, he led the country with five victories in nationally ranked tournaments.

Now at Marquette, Lyons is happy with the state of the facilities available to the team.

“Our indoor facilities are one of the best in the country,” Lyons said. “Our home course, The University Club, has its own private range with a championship course and a new short course.”  

Bailey said he sees Lyons taking all parts of life seriously, which is something special to the three-time BIG EAST Coach of the Year.

“When you find a player who exceeds academic, character and athletically, that’s hitting the jackpot,” Bailey said.  

Even though he has not been on the team for very long, Lyons said he loves the commitment everyone makes.  

“Everyone is committed to getting better in every asset of life,” Lyons said. “We love getting better in our fitness, and on the golf course.” 

Sophomore golfer Scott Schlander said he thinks Lyons is going to make an impact on the team both on and off the course. 

“He is another guy that is going to be pushing all of us and helping us strive to all get better,” Schlader said.  

Through Marquette’s first two invitionals, Lyons has made a huge impact.

At the Marquette Intercollegiate at Erin Hills in Hartford, Wisconsin, Lyons led the team with a 2-under 214, while posting even-par 72s on the last two days to close out play with a 1-under 215.

Lyons, the 2020 JGAA Arizona Boys Player of the Year, posted a final round of 1-under 70 to put him at 2-under in the Gopher Invitational which placed him 13th in the event.

Schlader said he is able to see an important skill in Lyons when he is on the course with him. 

“The biggest thing I see is he’s got that competitive drive and that fire while playing to do well and to improve his score,” Schlader said.   

While Lyons is just getting his golf journey underway at Marquette, he said he has his eyes on one goal. 

“My goal is to compete to win a national championship and to turn professional,” Lyons said.

This article was written by Matthew Valente. He can be reached at matthew.valente@marquette.edu.