Marquette wins school's first Big East title

By STEVE HARMON
Deputy Editor

A Marquette University veteran stepped up and led his team to an upset victory in the Big East Conference men’s tournament this week in Hebron, Ky.

It just wasn’t the player whom Golden Eagles fans might have expected.

Ted Gray, often playing in the shadow of teammate Mike Van Sickle, led from start to finish for his first collegiate title. Gray shot 68-68-75 for a 5-under 211 total at Traditions Golf Club to win Tuesday by five shots.

The victory, and the NCAA regional team berth that goes with it, is a big step for Marquette in its quest for national recognition.

“This showed the guys that they can play with nationally ranked teams,’’ said coach Tim Grogan, in his 17th season at the Milwaukee university. “Some rounds, we just haven’t closed it out. But we’ve been getting better as the year has gone on.’’

That welcome home will be unprecedented for the Golden Eagles: This is the first Big East title in any sport since Marquette, a Jesuit university steeped in basketball tradition, joined the league in 2005.

Van Sickle, No. 38 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, has won a school-record six tournaments in his career, including the Ron Smith/USF Invitational March 2. He will be returning to NCAA regionals next month, this time with his team after having played as an individual last year.

“I’m thrilled that we’re going as a team,’’ said Van Sickle, a junior broadcasting communications major from Wexford, Pa. “We’ve got a legitimate shot.’’

Marquette had shown all season long that it could contend. Two victories in the fall preceded two runner-up finishes and a pair of fourth places this spring.

At Traditions, No. 75 Marquette opened an 11-shot lead through 36 holes and then held off No. 20 Louisville in the final round to shoot 874 and upset the Cardinals by two shots. Seton Hall was third at 887.

Gray, a communications major from Oshkosh, Wis., who expects to graduate in December, got a taste of what Van Sickle has gone through many times in his career: holding on to a lead.

After blistering the 7,103-yard Traditions course with 13 birdies in the first 36 holes, the tournament was Gray’s to lose.

“I just tried to play smart,’’ said Gray, No. 458 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings. “It was pretty nerve-racking.’’

Van Sickle knows the feeling, and he was impressed with how his teammate has emerged.

“Ted has the potential to really play great golf,’’ Van Sickle said. “All year long he’s been playing really steady golf. He doesn’t make many bogeys. Once he gets a few under, it’s easy for him to keep it there.’’

Gray said he putted well during the first two rounds Sunday and Monday, and that was the difference as he opened a seven-shot lead after 36 holes.

“I made a lot of birdie putts that I hadn’t been making – everything inside 15 feet the first couple of rounds.

“But that seven-shot lead wasn’t as easy as I thought.’’

Keegan Bradley of St. John’s was second at 216, and Adam Rainaud of Louisville was third at 217.

Van Sickle tied for fourth with Notre Dame’s Doug Fortner and Seton Hall’s Kyle Morris at 219.

Final scores with relation to par from the Big East Championship, played April 20-22 at the par-72, 7,130-yard Traditions Golf Club in Hebron, Ky.:

TEAMS
1. Marquette 291-288-295--874 + 10 2. Louisville 296-294-286--876 + 12 3. Seton Hall 294-297-296--887 + 23 4. Notre Dame 296-295-298--889 + 25 5. St. John’s 300-300-293--893 + 29 6. South Florida 304-298-301--903 + 39 7. DePaul 302-300-303--905 + 41 8. Georgetown 302-308-298--908 + 44 9. Cincinnati 301-302-306--909 + 45 10. Connecticut 301-303-309--913 + 49 11. Villanova 305-298-317--920 + 56 12. Rutgers 307-309-322--938 + 74 • • •


INDIVIDUALS



1. Ted Gray, Marquette 68-68-75--211
-5 2. Keegan Bradley, St. John’s 71-72-73--216
E 3. Adam Rainaud, Louisville 74-75-68--217 + 1 4. Doug Fortner, Notre Dame 73-75-71--219 + 3 4. Kyle Morris, Seton Hall 73-73-73--219 + 3 4. Mike Van Sickle, Marquette 72-74-73--219 + 3 7. Mike Bielawski, Marquette 72-73-75--220 + 4 7. Derek Fathauer, Louisville 76-70-74--220 + 4 7. Adam Hadwin, Louisville 74-76-70--220 + 4 7. Tim Hager, Georgetown 72-77-71--220 + 4 7. Tyler Hitchcock, So. Fla. 76-73-71--220 + 4 7. Josh Sandman, Notre Dame 71-72-77--220 + 4 13. Evan Beirne, St. John’s 76-75-70--221 + 5 14. Greg Doherty, DePaul 72-76-74--222 + 6 14. Dave Sampson, Seton Hall 76-74-72--222 + 6 14. John Zur, Seton Hall 71-75-76--222 + 6 17. Daryl Fathauer, Louisville 73-74-76--223 + 7 18. Brett Bergman, Villanova 73-74-77--224 + 8 18. Cory Blenkush, DePaul 71-77-76--224 + 8 18. Alberto Fernandez, Cincinnati 75-75-74--224 + 8 18. Lewis Kirton, Louisville 75-75-74--224 + 8 18. Brian Travalja, UConn 74-75-75--224 + 8 18. Colin Van Es, Seton Hall 74-75-75--224 + 8 18. Dustin Zhang, Notre Dame 77-75-72--224 + 8 25. Conor Casey, Villanova 75-74-76--225 + 9 25. Matt Dubrowski, UConn 74-78-73--225 + 9 25. Raj Nahal, So. Fla. 73-77-75--225 + 9 28. Joe Kastelic, Cincinnati 74-75-77--226 + 10 28. Vincenzo Salina, Georgetown 80-72-74--226 + 10 30. Jason Elliott, So. Fla. 79-73-76--228 + 12 30. Kevin Velardo, St. John’s 76-78-74--228 + 12 32. Will Cumberland, DePaul 79-71-79--229 + 13 33. Kelly Kretz, Marquette 83-73-74--230 + 14 33. Matthew McMahon, DePaul 80-76-74--230 + 14 33. David Praet, Georgetown 75-79-76--230 + 14 36. Mike Ballo, St. John’s 77-79-76--232 + 16 36. Ryan Cahill, Cincinnati 75-77-80--232 + 16 36. Colin List, Villanova 76-75-81--232 + 16 36. Garrett Logan, Georgetown 75-80-77--232 + 16 36. Jakob McKinley, So. Fla. 76-75-81--232 + 16 36. A.J. Siekierski, UConn 77-75-80--232 + 16 42. Dustin Schwab, Marquette 79-81-73--233 + 17 42. George Zolotas, St. John’s 77-75-81--233 + 17 44. James Arbes, Rutgers 76-75-83--234 + 18 44. James Hilaire, Rutgers 79-74-81--234 + 18 44. Greg Rodgers, Notre Dame 75-81-78--234 + 18 44. Blake Tucker, Cincinnati 82-75-77--234 + 18 44. Kane Volsky, Cincinnati 77-79-78--234 + 18 49. Eddie Peckels, Notre Dame 80-73-82--235 + 19 50. Robby Carl, So. Fla. 80-77-79--236 + 20 50. Chris DeLucia, UConn 76-76-84--236 + 20 50. Chris Frame, Rutgers 79-80-77--236 + 20 53. JC Cardamone, Seton Hall 80-77-81--238 + 22 53. Jordan Gibbs, Rutgers 76-80-82--238 + 22 53. Nick Martin, DePaul 80-79-79--238 + 22 53. J.F. Sorbella, Rutgers 76-80-82--238 + 22 57. Pat Sherry, Georgetown 80-80-80--240 + 24 58. Andrew Alexander, Villanova 82-77-83--242 + 26 58. Doug Stadler, Villanova 81-75-86--242 + 26 58. L.J. Tosches, UConn 84-77-81--242 + 26

Welcome to Golfweek.com's comments section.
Please review the posting guidlines here: Golfweek.com Community Guidelines.
All accounts must be verified using Disqus email verification