North Texas Daily

Freshmen fuel strong finish for men’s golf

Freshmen fuel strong finish for men’s golf

Freshmen fuel strong finish for men’s golf
June 10
13:30 2021

With three freshmen playing significant roles this past season, the men’s golf team found its footing by the season’s end and showed promise for the future.

After an up-and-down regular season altered by COVID-19 and Winter Storm Uri, North Texas placed No. 2 at the Conference USA tournament as freshman Vicente Marzilio took home the C-USA individual title.

With the individual win, Marzilio received an automatic bid to the NCAA Stillwater Regional where he capped off the season tied for No. 21 individually. He placed in the top 25 individually in six of seven tournaments and led the team in stroke average (72.43 strokes per round).

“[The season] was really good,” Marzilio said. “I felt really comfortable the whole time and felt confident every time I teed up.”

Each tournament during the season saw the Mean Green finish top 10, with their highest finish coming in March at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette’s home tournament, the Louisiana Classics. North Texas placed No. 3 as junior Lenny Bergsson (No. 8 at 2-under-par) and freshman Vicente Marzilio (tied for No. 9 at 1-under) led the way with top-10 finishes.

In its regular season finale – Texas A&M University’s Aggie Invitational – North Texas held its own early, finishing day one at No. 6 above ranked opponents Baylor University (then-No. 36) and the University of Texas-San Antonio (then-No. 33). The Mean Green fell to No. 9 by tournament’s end, but proved they could compete with some ranked opponents.

Head coach Brad Stracke is proud of his young team for performing the way it did. Stracke has coached several conference champion squads but said this group has been one of his favorites to coach in Denton.

“As far as experience, getting along, gelling together, having fun at practice, and working hard […] this was the best team in terms of hitting all those boxes,” Stracke said.

Following the Aggie Invitational, the team traveled to Texarkana, Texas, to compete in the C-USA championship. The first round of the tournament saw the team come out strong, finishing No. 3 at 2-under-par and three shots back from the leader, Texas-San Antonio. Marzilio jumped to No. 2 individually during the second round, but the team fell to No. 4. The final day of the tournament saw North Texas rally to a No. 2 finish in stroke play, once again led by Marzilio who won the individual championship with his final round 67.

In the match play semifinals versus the University of Alabama-Birmingham, redshirt senior Sean Wilcox kept the team alive with a birdie putt from 25 feet on the 18th hole. This extended the match to a win-or-go-home 19th hole, where Wilcox drained a 30-foot putt to send North Texas to the match play final. The team then fell to Middle Tennessee State University in the match play final by a score of three to two.

Although men’s golf did not qualify for NCAA regionals, the players feel they have a lot to look forward to. Wilcox, one of the oldest players on the team, was thoroughly impressed with how all of the team’s underclassmen performed.

“With me being one of the oldest guys on the team, I was extremely proud of the way our freshmen stood out,” Wilcox said. “[The younger players] picked up where some of the other older guys were kind of lacking.”

Stracke said this past season’s freshman class, comprised of Marzilio, Nikhil Gopal (No. 3 on team at 73.53 strokes per round) and Diego Prone (No. 5 on team at 75.17 strokes per round), may be his best class ever.

“[The freshmen] have been great, could be the best freshman class I’ve had since I’ve been at North Texas,” Stracke said. “We’ll see how they progress and get better as time goes on, but I’m really thrilled to have those guys be part of the program and they’re showing a lot of promise.”

Looking forward to next season, North Texas is scheduled to retain each of the six players who played in tournaments last season. Along with the young core, senior Viktor Forslund and Wilcox will return to give college golf one last go.

“I’m really excited to come back and return with everybody,” Wilcox said. “I have trust in this team.”

Featured Image: Freshman Diego Prone watches his shot during a practice on Feb. 5, 2021. Image by Zach Del Bello

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Reed Smith

Reed Smith

sports editor

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