North Texas Daily

Men’s golf nears familiar territory at Conference USA tournament

Men’s golf nears familiar territory at Conference USA tournament

Men’s golf nears familiar territory at Conference USA tournament
April 22
13:30 2022

Having wrapped up its regular season, men’s golf approaches the Conference USA Championship tournament needing to win to clinch a spot in an NCAA Regional tournament.

North Texas currently ranks No. 82 nationally in the official Golfstat rankings which puts it below the top-50 threshold typically required to earn an at-large bid to NCAA regionals. With a clear goal going into the conference championship, sophomore golfer Vicente Marzilio said the team can build off last year’s runner-up finish.

“Last year we played great in conference, we were really close [to winning],” Marzilio said. “I imagine if we go into [the tournament] with momentum, I think we can do it better than last year.”

Marzilio comes in at No. 124 in the nation on Golfstat’s individual golfer rankings going into the conference tournament. Last season, Marzilio was the Mean Green’s lone representative in the NCAA regional round after winning the C-USA individual championship.

Down the stretch of the regular season, North Texas’ performances have become more consistent as the team has finished in the top six in three of its last four tournaments. Head coach Brad Stracke said gaining wins over top teams in the country provided a momentum shift for the Mean Green through the last few events.

“The spring season went well, the guys improved a lot,” Stracke said. “Over the course of the year, we beat top 20 [University of Mississippi] and beat quite a few top 50 teams. The guys are definitely trending in the right direction.”

At the Louisiana Classics on March 14 and 15, North Texas competed against four top 50 opponents and took third in front of then-No. 17 Ole Miss. The team followed up its performance in Louisiana with another No. 3 finish at the All-American Intercollegiate tournament in Houston.

Senior golfer Lenny Bergsson said the team’s end of season resurgence came around the time of the Louisiana tournament.

“I feel like we finally got some nice results in Louisiana,” Bergsson said. “It was nice to see we were able to compete against [top-level] teams and be in contention in these tournaments we play. I think that gave us all a little bit of a confidence boost and made us believe we can win tournaments, being in contention every time we play.”

The C-USA championship is being held at the Texarkana Country Club meaning the team will not have to leave Texas to compete. Traveling to Texarkana will take the team three hours and 15 minutes by van, the second-shortest journey of any team competing at the tournament aside from Louisiana Tech University.

Several of the Mean Green’s upperclassmen have played at the Texarkana CC before due to the tournament being held at the club each of the last few years. Marzilio said the short travel time gives the team an edge they can capitalize on.

“In my opinion it feels like going to practice at Maridoe [Golf Club] except a little longer,” Marzilio said. “Maybe on the way you’ll listen to music, maybe you talk to someone […] it goes by really fast and I love that.”

The Mean Green likely need a victory in Texarkana to advance to the NCAA regionals, a situation North Texas also found itself in during the 2020-2021 season. While Marzilio booked his ticket to regionals by winning the individual C-USA championship, the team finished just short as it lost to Middle Tennessee State University in the final round of the tournament.

Approaching the event like any other has been integral to the team’s mentality. With the entire lineup from last year returning, the Mean Green hope to prevail where they were unable to in 2021.

“We prepare in the same way for every tournament,” fifth-year golfer Viktor Forslund said. “We know that if we continue to do the same things, good things will happen.”

Featured Image: Vincente Marzilio reads the putting green on April 4. 2022. Photo by Maria Crane

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Reed Smith

Reed Smith

sports editor

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