Men's spring preview: Big East Conference
During the month of January, Golfweek will preview the spring season for each conference. Check out all of the previews here.
Today, we look at the Big East Conference:
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5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
• Top of the class: Marquette
• Player to watch: Ryan McCormick, St. John's. McCormick enjoyed success in the fall after finishing in the top 10 at last year's Big East Championship. He could be in store for more success in the spring.
• Freshman to watch: Lloyd Jefferson Go, Seton Hall. The rookie could be the difference for Seton Hall as it strives to makes it way into the top half of the conference.
• Conference championship: April 26-29, Callawassie Island GC, Okatie, S.C.
• Past champions (since 2009): South Florida (2013), Notre Dame (2011-12), Georgetown (2010), Louisville (2009)
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(Golfweek/Sagarin rank in parentheses)
- Marquette (103): Marquette boasted team depth in the fall, with five golfers posting sub-75 scoring averages and seven different players shooting rounds in the 60s. Marquette finished seventh at the Big East Championship last year, but returns all five contributors from that tournament. The team posted two top 5s in the fall, thanks, in part, to Nick Nelson and Zach Gaugert, who both took medalist honors in the fall.
- St. John’s (104): With last year’s champions (South Florida) moving on to the American Athletic Conference, St. John’s is hoping to step up into the conference’s No. 1 spot. The Red Storm is led by All-Big East senior Ryan McCormick, who posted a 70.91 scoring average and three top 10s in four events this fall. St. John’s posted three top 5s in the fall.
- Xavier (177): Led by junior Korey Ward, Xavier could make some noise in its first season as a member of the Big East. The team posted only one top 5 against tough competition in the fall, but saw some impressive individual numbers. Ward, an All-Atlantic 10 selection, led the team with a 73 scoring average and seven rounds of par or better in the fall. Senior Yuki Kato supported Ward with a 73.39 scoring average and two top-10 finishes.
- DePaul (204): DePaul played four tournaments in the fall, finishing in the top 5 in one contest. Senior Moritz Ackerhans led the team in three of its four tournaments, with his best finish coming at the John Dallio Memorial (second). Ackerhans was the only Blue Demon to post a scoring average less than 75.
- Seton Hall (221): Seton Hall took finished its fall season with three straight top-5 finishes. The Pirates finished last at last year’s Big East Championship, but could see a reversal of fortunes thanks to freshman Lloyd Jefferson Go. The rookie shot under par in two separate tournaments, including a third-place finish at the Barnabas Health Intercollegiate.
- Georgetown (226): The Hoyas produced one top 5 in the fall – a fifth-place showing at the Cobra Invitational. Georgetown is led by upperclassmen Charlie vonArentschildt and Greg Podufal as it looks to improve upon its 11th-place showing at the Big East Championship last year.
- Creighton (258): Creighton transitions to the Big East from the Missouri Valley Conference, where it finished 8th last season. The Bluejays had their best showing this fall at the Bill Ross Intercollegiate, where they finished third out of 14 teams. Junior Johnny Spellerberg led the team in the fall with a 75.5 scoring average. Three different players on the team nabbed top-5 finishes in the fall.
- Butler (259): The Bulldogs, a young team with five underclassmen, finished near the pack in all of their fall tournaments except for the Dayton Flyer Invitational, where they finished 8th. Junior Andrew Eller led the team with a 74.8 scoring average and a top-10 finish.
- Villanova (281): Villanova struggled in the fall, but managed a top-5 finish at its final fall event, the Lehigh Invitational. Freshman Lucas Trim led the team at the Lehigh Invitational with a fifth-place showing. Villanova, the eighth-place finisher at last year’s Big East Championship, has four upperclassmen on roster, but has seen contributions from freshmen in the fall.