Marquette men’s golf fell short in their quest for a second straight Big East title and their third in four years on Tuesday, but the Golden Eagles did get a silver lining to their trip to South Carolina. While Marquette finished in second place and three strokes behind Big East champion Georgetown as a team, freshman Hunter Eichhorn shot an even par 72 on the third and final day of the tournament to finish at two-under for the tournament. That was good enough for the individual title, as he was the only player in the field to finish under par.
As a result, Eichhorn automatically qualifies as an individual for the NCAA tournament regionals. Marquette, on the other hand, may find themselves on the outside looking in. The Golden Eagles were ranked #64 in the Golfstat team rankings heading into the Big East championship match, but it is an 81 team field, and you gotta get to 81 teams somehow. If MU were to receive an at-large bid, it would be the first in program history.
The Golden Eagles came incredibly close to pulling off their second straight conference title. MU was neck and neck with Georgetown through two rounds, and came into Tuesday’s final day of play just three strokes back of the Hoyas. It’s a team scoring event, so with five guys playing for four cards that count for 18 holes, three strokes is essentially like a tie. Marquette was on fire through the first nine holes of the day, shooting a combined score of nine under par with a official score of 10 under, as the lowest card drops out. Matt Murlick led everyone with four birdies on the front, and the entire team combined for 11 birdies and just two scores over par.
Meanwhile, the Hoyas were a mess on the front, recording a score that counted of one over par. That had Marquette up by six strokes as everyone made the turn. Murlick continued his hot play on the back nine, shooting three under on the first five holes. The same can not be said for his teammates, though, as Oliver Farrell ran into double bogeys on 11 and 13 and Matthew Bachman and Austin Kendziorski put up a seven and an eight respectively on the par four 14th hole. That essentially spelled the end for Marquette, as they managed just two birdies as a team in the final four holes. Georgetown didn’t do anything spectacular on the back nine, shooting a combined score of +2 and essentially just let Marquette come back to them in the final few holes.
Eichhorn will find out his individual destination for sure on Wednesday evening when the NCAA announces the men’s golf regional fields on the Golf Channel at 5pm Central. I would presume that if the Golden Eagles earn an at-large bid, Eichhorn will just go wherever that MU is assigned. It’d be unnecessarily complicated and unfair to Marquette to send Eichhorn to one location and the rest of the team to a different regional site.