MU Golfers Conclude First Round of BIG EAST Championship

April 19, 2009

BIG EAST Championship Results - Round 1 (PDF) | Photo Gallery

DADE CITY, Fla. -- Marquette University's men's golf team opened the 2009 BIG EAST Championship with a team score of 4-over-par 292 and are tied for third place with St. John's University following first-round action Sunday at Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club.

Four Marquette players -- freshman Matt Haase, sophomore Kelly Kretz and seniors Dustin Schwab and Mike Van Sickle -- finished at 1-over 73 at the par-72, 7,031-yard South Course.

"I feel we could have been better today," said Schwab. "It's encouraging that we all kept it around par. I had a lot of good putts today that just didn't go in and there's not much you can do about it. Tomorrow, if we can just get a couple of shots better per guy, we'll still be okay."

A familiar setting for the Golden Eagles, MU had played the South Course earlier this spring at the Ron Smith USF Invitational, which the team also played at in 2007 and 2008. Lake Jovita was also the site of the 2006 BIG EAST Conference Men's Golf Championship.

"I don't think we adapted quick enough to how the conditions were," said head coach Tim Grogan. "If we would have done that earlier, we'd probably be within five [strokes] of the lead."

Fast fairways and even quicker greens put a premium on accuracy and putting, as only Louisville and Seton Hall fired team scores that were under par. The Cardinals lead the 12-team field after day one at 6-under 282 with SHU three stroke back at 285.

"The course is actually quite a bit different than we've ever played it before," said Kretz. "It's harder and the greens are even faster. It's always had fast greens, but they were even faster today. You can have a 10-footer and are worried not to hit it three feet past the cup."

Haase was 3-over following a bogey on the par-4, hole 16, but closed with back-to-back birdies after hitting his second shot out of bunkers on both 17 and 18.

Kretz made birdie on hole 10 to move to 3-under on the day, but double bogey on hole 11 triggered three more bogeys over the next five holes. Kretz then drove the green on the par-4, 362-yard hole 17 to pick up his team-best fifth birdie of the day.

"I was kind of disappointed with the way I finished," said Kretz. "I thought I was really hitting the ball well with the exception of maybe two swings, which cost me some shots, and I never really putted it that well all day. I feel good about tomorrow. Hopefully I get just as many birdies without any bogeys."

Ben Sieg, who shot a first-round 78, owns Marquette's first tee time for Monday's second round of the 54-hole tournament, which is scheduled to start at 7 a.m. Central. Sieg will tee off at 9:30 a.m.

"If we play a little more cautious, I think we can work away at Louisville's lead," said Grogan. "We just need to play the course like we're capable of. But it's not going to be done all in one round. If we can make up some ground tomorrow, we should be in decent shape heading into Tuesday's final round."

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BIG EAST Conference Men's Golf Championship
April 19, 2009 (First Round)
Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club - South Course
Dade City, Fla.
Par 72 / 7,031 yards

Marquette Individuals
T14) Matt Haase 73
T14) Kelly Kretz 73
T14) Dustin Schwab 73
T14) Mike Van Sickle 73
T42) Ben Sieg 78

Team Scores
1) Louisville 282
2) Seton Hall 285
T3) Marquette 292
T3) St. John's 292
T5) USF 295
T5) Notre Dame 295
7) DePaul 297
8) Rutgers 301
9) Georgetown 302
10) Cincinnati 304
11) Villanova 312
12) Connecticut 324




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