Van Sickle Defends Tournament Title, MU Runners-Up
March 2, 2008
MILWAUKEE - Mike Van Sickle used back-to-back sub-70 rounds to defend his title at the Ron Smith/USF Invitational on Sunday. Van Sickle's victory at the Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club in Dade City, Fla. was the Marquette junior's sixth tournament victory of his career, a school record. Meanwhile, Marquette tied for second place, garnering the team's fifth top-five finish in six tournaments thus far in 2007-08.
"As far as the tournament goes, I felt this is a very solid start to our spring season," said head coach Tim Grogan. "It was a goal of ours to come out and be competitive right away."
Van Sickle followed up his round of 67 yesterday at the par-72 South Course with a 69 on Sunday. His final tally of 208 (72-67-69) and four-stroke margin over the three individuals that tied for second place is especially impressive considering Van Sickle was seven strokes off the lead after the first round.
"He just got better as the tournament went on," Grogan said of Van Sickle. "Even though it wasn't his lowest score, I thought his last round was his best. It was windy and the course conditions were tough."
Van Sickle carded 13 birdies and an eagle over the course of the three-day event and boasted a 69.33 stroke average.
Freshman Kelly Kretz also had a strong showing Sunday with a two-under 70. Kretz finished at 220 (74-76-70). Ted Gray posted a 222 (75-73-74), Michael Bielawski came in at 225 (77-72-76) and Dustin Schwab at 230 (76-80-74).
Marquette as a team tied with Florida Southern, both with scores of 872. Middle Tennessee State hung on for the win at six-under 858. The Golden Eagles also finished ahead of BIG EAST opponents DePaul (877) and host USF (883). Marquette was tied for fourth after the second round.
"Middle Tennessee State played really well - they were hard to catch," admitted Grogan. "But we had the second-best score on the last day. I think our guys were a little bit rusty, but that's to be expected. We know there's room for improvement. You can tell that all of the work we've been doing in the indoor putting green has paid off."
This was MU's first event of the spring season. The Golden Eagles will not return to competition until the Pinehurst Intercollegiate which is set to begin March 16.
Ron Smith/USF Invitational