Men's Golf Opens 2008-09 Season at Gopher Invitational
Sept. 12, 2008
WAYZATA, Minn. -- Defending BIG EAST champion Marquette University opens its 2008-09 men's golf season today with the first round of the Gopher Invitational hosted by the University of Minnesota. The Golden Eagles are one of 12 teams participating in the three-day event held at the par-72, 7,020-yard Spring Hill Golf Club.
This is the Golden Eagles' first appearance at the Gopher Invitational, which features eight NCAA tournament teams from a season ago, including Marquette which earned an automatic bid to its first-ever NCAA Regional by virtue of winning the BIG EAST title.
In addition to Marquette and host Minnesota, other schools playing to the tournament are: Arkansas, Iowa, Iowa State, LSU, Pepperdine, Southern Methodist, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and Yale.
Head coach Tim Grogan returns six players from his 2007-08 roster, but loses BIG EAST individual champion Ted Gray and fellow All-BIG EAST performer Mike Bielawski to graduation. Leading the Golden Eagles this weekend will be All-American Mike Van Sickle, who is currently the sixth-ranked amateur in North America, according to the Scratch Players World Amatuer Ranking, and the highest-ranked amateur at the Gopher Invitational.
Sophomore Kelly Kretz hopes to improve off a remarkable freshman season in which he managed a 74.97 stroke average, while senior Dustin Schwab also looks to carry some of his momentum from this past summer into his final season at Marquette. Kretz, who ranked second in the NCAA in eagles last season, advanced to the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship back in July, while Schwab won the Wisconsin State Golf Association's Match Play Championship in June.
Ben Sieg will play in the No. 4 spot this weekend. Although he did not play last year, the red-shirt sophomore won the BIG EAST/MAC Challenge as a freshman in 2006-07. Junior Mike McDonald will fill the final spot on the Golden Eagles' lineup. McDonald played in two events last year. He defeated teammate Matt Haase in preseason team qualifying to earn a spot for the Gopher Invitational.