Charlie Maleki opened his first BIG EAST Championship with a 1-over-par 73.
May 1, 2016
Rd. 1 Results | Rd. 2 Pairings | Photos
OKATIE, South Carolina — Freshman Charlie Maleki led Marquette with an opening round 73 (1-over-par), good for a sixth-place tie, and the Golden Eagles (299, 11-over-par) sit even with Xavier for second place and nine shots behind leader Georgetown (290) after Round 1 of the 2016 BIG EAST Men’s Golf Championships at Callawassie Island G.C.
Maleki, who had not made his debut in MU’s starting lineup until March 24, had a steady start with a par performance on the front nine and highlighted his round with a birdie on the par 4 No. 14, which played as the hardest hole on the course on Sunday.
“If you had asked me a few months ago whether I’d be here, I’d say probably not,” Maleki said. “In the fall season I had a lot of growing up to do, but I can’t thank coach [Steve] Bailey and coach [Michael Bielawski] enough for helping me get here. They pushed me this winter and helped me get here.
“There were some nerves at the beginning, but I did a pretty good job of keeping them in check. It was a great atmosphere with good people and we had a lot of fun in that first round.”
“His game has been really steady and consistent overall,” Bailey said. “He hits it straight and putts it well - nothing flashy. Around here, if you can keep it in play, you can score. I’m so proud of him.”
Tournament No. 4 seed Nick Nelson posted a pair of birdies on the back nine and is tied for tenth at 74. Zach Gaugert and Oliver Farrell sit tied for 16th with rounds of 76.
“For a while today, we had everybody in it - that’s always what you’re looking for," Bailey said. "Par is really good here, and I don’t think we have to come out here and do much different tomorrow.”
Marquette got a jump on the front nine, charting an outbound 3-over-par team score and making waves on a part of the course where six of the nine toughest holes were located. Maleki and Farrell opened their first trip to the BIG EAST Championships positively, as each made birdie on one of the opening three holes.
CJ Swift registered back-to-back birdies on the par 3 No. 5 and par 5 No. 6 holes to push Marquette into the top spot.
“We were a really well-prepared team coming in,” Maleki said. “Having CJ, Zach and Nick is great - they’ve been in this rodeo now four times and know what they’re doing, and [Oliver] is really solid and always ready to go. We pride ourselves on being a mentally tough team.”
The Golden Eagles started strong on the back nine with birdies from Swift and Nelson on No. 10 and Farrell on No. 11 to move to even par. After trouble across the lineup between holes No. 12 and No. 15, Nelson birdied the par 4 No. 16, while Maleki and Gaugert birdied No. 17 to help steady Marquette to the finish.
Marquette and Xavier are just a shot ahead of fourth-place DePaul (300) entering Monday’s second round.
The average score in the 45-man field on Sunday was 77.58.