Sixth-year head coach Steve Bailey and Marquette will look to repeat as BIG EAST champions.
Feb. 17, 2016
After a competitive break of 14 weeks, the Marquette men’s golf team returns to action with five regular season events this spring and sights set on repeating as BIG EAST Champions in May.
In addition, the Golden Eagles have the possibility of competing in postseason action in familiar territory, as Marquette will host NCAA Division I regional play at the Meadow Valleys Course at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wisconsin from May 16-18.
Highlights from the fall included MU’s fifth-place finish in a stacked field at its third-annual home event, the Erin Hills Intercollegiate, and the rise of freshman Oliver Farrell, who finished the fall third in the BIG EAST in scoring average at 72.25. In addition, Farrell was named BIG EAST Golfer of the Month for October.
With the spring half of the schedule beginning Feb. 19 with match play against Grand Canyon, we sat down with sixth-year head coach Steve Bailey to get his perspective on the first half and what he expects in the second half.
GoMarquette.com: With the spring portion of the schedule set to begin, how would you assess the fall?
Steve Bailey: With a senior-filled roster, we really amped up the strength of the schedule in the fall. It tested our group with not only quality venues, but the depth of the fields we played in were stronger than anything we played the last few years. We talked a lot about potential, and I think at times there was some frustration from the group that they know how good they can be, but we still have to go out and do it. Nothing is going to be given to this team.
There were sparks at times - it was really nice to have a big contribution from a freshman [Oliver Farrell] in the four events he played, including a BIG EAST Player of the Month honor, which is really impressive. He motivated our squad too with his work ethic - what he did on a daily basis really motivated everyone else in our group.
I think our seniors got a taste of the fact that each event they come to now is going to be the last one. They’ve taken an approach that they want to have a “no regrets” attitude moving forward. Wherever you are at the time, be focused on what’s in front of you.
GM: For Oliver Farrell, it was a dynamic first semester - what do you expect from him this spring?
SB: We’ve worked a lot with him on how to manage the game and how to handle emotions. [Oliver] puts so much preparation into his game and has a motor unlike anything I’ve seen in my 11 years of coaching. Along with that, he has very high standards. So the big step for him moving forward is being able to move on from an average shot. This game is so difficult to begin with, there’s no need for any added pressure. Once he works through that, his game will only continue to elevate.
GM: One of the more impressive players in the fall was senior Zach Gaugert, who finished under par in four of six rounds in October. What were your takeaways?
SB: If you’re the coach of a program and looking to set the tone for your team, Zach’s your first pick in the draft. He’s the motor of this team with what he brings to the table in terms of his leadership. He’s really shown that with his efforts in practice and in the weight room. I think that he’s learned so much from what’s happened with this team and the success the past few years, and as a result, the light bulb really came on for him. The improvements for him are in how he views the game, results and outcomes - he believes that he’s going to prepare the best he can and hit the best shot in front of him. I truly believe he’s embraced that approach, and I look for special things from him - he came into the season with that “no regrets” attitude.
GM: This is a much busier spring this year with more travel and events, how do you expect this group to deal with it?
SB: We played six events in 2014 in the fall, and downshifted to five this year. There was less than a month to prepare for the first trip (Feb. 19 at Grand Canyon), but that’s good - the guys take enough time off in December that they’re really itching to go now. The competition that we have on the schedule has everyone eager to get after it. We’re not knocking off rust - we’ve been working hard, and this group is looking forward to affirming all of the work we’ve put into the season.
GM: Anything else you’re looking forward to for this spring?
SB: The energy levels have been extremely high. I’ve been impressed with the attitudes that the guys have shown up with every day, and that’s been led by our seniors. We don’t have a lot hard expectations, but it’s important to take advantage of what’s in front of us and to rely on our preparation.