North Texas Daily

‘Expectations are high’: Men’s golf enters spring aiming for conference title

‘Expectations are high’: Men’s golf enters spring aiming for conference title

‘Expectations are high’: Men’s golf enters spring aiming for conference title
February 20
14:00 2022

After a runner-up finish at last season’s Conference USA tournament, the men’s golf team is looking to carry its fall momentum into the spring with hopes of another shot at winning a conference championship.

North Texas fell short in a loss to Middle Tennessee State University 3-0-2 in the final round of last season’s tournament and did not qualify for the NCAA regionals. Sophomore golfer Vicente Marzilio placed first individually at the tournament and secured an individual spot at the NCAA regionals. Beyond the individual success, Marzilio said he wants the chance to compete in regionals with his teammates.

“We want to play the best we can in all the tournaments we have in the spring to climb up in the rankings,” Marzilio said. “Step-by-step, we need to play the best we can in our conference and hopefully win it. Personally, I expect to do even better and I feel the team is way better than last year. Expectations are high.”

Last year Marzilio led the team with a scoring average of 72.43 strokes per round and did not place lower than No. 39 individually at any tournament. He tied for No. 21 with a score of 4-over-par while competing at the Stillwater NCAA regionals. This fall Marzilio’s scoring average rose to 75.33 strokes per round in the first two tournaments as North Texas finished in the bottom half of both events.

Competing at four tournaments in the fall, the Mean Green finished No. 13 out of 15 teams at the Maridoe Collegiate Invitational and No. 15 out of 18 teams at The Tucker. In their last two tournaments, the team finished No. 5 at the Trinity Forest Invitational and No. 7 at the Little Rock Invitational. Senior golfer Sean Wilcox had the best individual score at Little Rock, finishing a career-best 2-under-par.

“I definitely want to keep [the momentum] up,” Wilcox said. “At the same time, I kind of had to make some adjustments and we had to make some [adjustments] team-wise. A lot of us progressed in the winter.”

North Texas will start its spring in La Quinta, Calif., with the Prestige Tournament on Feb. 21-23. With eight returners from last season’s squad and two new additions this season in sophomore golfer Tucker Allen and freshman golfer Rohit Madireddi, 10 players will compete for five spots to travel to California.

Two golfers are currently competing for the fifth spot to travel, Stracke said. Marzilio, Wilcox, Allen and sophomore golfer Diego Prone competed at three of the four fall tournaments, including each of the last two events.

Entering the Prestige at No. 124 nationally in the official Golfstat rankings, the Mean Green are outside the top 50 range which typically guarantees a team an at-large bid to regionals.

“Usually, we average ranking around No. 57 since I’ve been here at UNT,” head coach Brad Stracke said. “We didn’t play like we should [have] this fall and play to our expectations, but the guys are playing great golf right now.”

Wilcox said the players will not allow the rankings to define them and should play their best at each tournament before worrying about rankings. A top-50 ranking is not the only way to get to the NCAA regionals, however. If the Mean Green can win the C-USA tournament, they will earn an automatic bid to NCAA Regionals regardless of their ranking.

Having won 30 conference titles across seven different conferences in the program’s history, the Mean Green’s last and only C-USA championship win came in 2015.

“You always start fresh each year, but winning conference championships, going to regionals and finals is something that we expect here,” Stracke said. “We haven’t done it the last few years and it’s time to get right back on track.”

Featured Image: Sean Wilcox practices his putting on Oct. 13, 2020. Photo by Zach Del Bello

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Paul Witwer

Paul Witwer

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