Marquette Golf Claims School's First BIG EAST Championship
April 22, 2008
HEBRON, Ky. - The Marquette University men's golf team made history Tuesday by becoming the first team at the school to win a BIG EAST title. The Golden Eagles posted a three-round total of 874 (291-288-295) to win the 2008 BIG EAST Championship by two strokes over defending champion Louisville at Traditions Golf Club. Additionally, senior Ted Gray claimed medalist honors for the first time in his collegiate career with a five-under 211 (68-68-73).
"It took almost four total years for me to win an event, but the team victory is even better," said Gray. "It was one of the most nerve-racking rounds I have ever played. But you can't let any of that effect you. I tried to just stick to my game and hit some decent shots, nothing too aggressive. Coach [Tim Grogan] explained to me that I had a good cushion coming in to today."
Gray jumped out to a commanding lead atop the individual leaderboard after he carded back-to-back rounds of 68 to open the tournament, which began Sunday. He posted 15 birdies along the way en route to being named an All-BIG EAST selection. Keegan Bradley of St. John's finished runner-up with an even-par 216 (71-72-73).
Prior to Tuesday, no Marquette team had won a BIG EAST Conference title since the school joined the league in 2005. It also marks the first conference championship in the history of the Golden Eagles men's golf program. As a result of winning the championship, Marquette will receive the league's automatic bid to play in a NCAA Regional tournament to be held May 15-17 at one of three locations across the country.
"This just shows you what level we can play at," said Marquette head coach Tim Grogan. "We came out and played really well on the front nine, and made things a little bit more interesting on the back. I think everybody could kind of feel [Louisville] coming on, but it's actually good that we had that pressure. I think the guys really learned from that experience."
The Golden Eagles led Louisville by 11 strokes heading into Tuesday's final round at the par 72, 7,103-yard Traditions Golf Club. However, the Cardinals (296-294-286) made a charge on day three with a two-under 286 - the best team round of the tournament. Louisville's Adam Rainaud led the rally with his third round four-under 68.
MU junior Mike Van Sickle and senior Michael Bielawski also earned All-BIG EAST recognition, which went to the top 10 individuals. Van Sickle tied for fourth at a plus-three 219 (72-74-73) and Bielawski finished tied for seventh at four-over 220 (72-73-75).
2008 BIG EAST Championship Final Results