Golf swings into spring season


Freddy Thomas averaged 74.41 during the fall season, second on the team behind Joe McCarthy. (Photo courtesy of DePaul Athletics)

Andrew Hattersly, Assistant Sports Editor

After nearly four months off, the DePaul men’s golf team returned to the course for the spring portion of their schedule last week competing in the Earl Yestingsmeier Match Play.

Senior Freddy Thomas said it was nice to start out the spring campaign with match play as opposed to stroke play, which allowed him and the rest of the team to be more aggressive and get back in the flow of competitive golf.

“It’s nice because if you make a triple it’s only one hole so it really focuses on being aggressive,” Thomas said. “One thing I’ve traditionally struggled with is making birdies, so for me it was an easier golf course so I could really fire at flags, I could really go after trying to shoot a low number and it’s fun, it’s kind of carefree in a way and it really does help set us up with that aggressive mentality for the rest of the season.”

The team as a whole is looking to improve on a fall campaign that featured a fifth-place finish as well as a seventh-place finish in the Dayton Flyer Invitational. Thomas said he believes the team got better as the fall season progressed, but was disappointed with his individual performance.

“Individually I don’t think it went very well,” Thomas said. “I really struggled to start off. We were at Louisville, my game didn’t feel very good, the swing wasn’t there; I didn’t putt very well, chipping wasn’t the best. ”I think it improved gradually for me, and as a team as we went along.”

Thomas added he believes the team is heading in the right direction as they get ready for a key portion of their season.

DePaul head coach Marty Schiene, who is in his first year leading the team, said one of the nice aspects of the fall season was that it gave him the opportunity to better evaluate his team.

“We’ve got a pretty good body of work from qualifying rounds to tournament rounds to kind of identify who are the better players on the team,” Schiene said.

Thomas said the team’s new indoor practice facility has been helpful in assessing players’ strengths and weaknesses. The players have also benefited by being able to use FlightScope to calculate key statistics like swing speed, ball speed, carry distance, launch angle and spin rate.

“It’s very nice to be able to get our carry yardages, spin rates, all the different numbers that we need that we haven’t been able to get quite accurate in the past,” Thomas said. “I felt like I’ve been able to hit into the simulator and really get my numbers down so I came out hitting it better than I had in the past so it was very helpful.”

Freshman Joe McCarthy led the team in scoring averages during the fall season with an average of 73.33, and said his goal during the spring season is to put himself in position over the first couple rounds to potentially pick up a win in his first season of collegiate golf.

I want to be in contention going into the final round of each tournament and just see what I can do with a final round and see if I can win. If I put myself in contention then I’ll be happy.”

— Freshman, Joe McCarthy

One of the events circled on the calendar is the Big East tournament, where the team surrendered a seven-stroke lead on the final day, and ultimately finished fourth out of nine teams, nine shots off the pace. Thomas said he and his teammates have planned out their coursework to allow them to focus their attention on the Big East tournament as it approaches in late April.

“I think our preparedness was just a little bit off, we didn’t feel as comfortable on the course as we needed to, and I don’t think technically we were quite there,” Thomas said. “I planned out my academic schedule in a way that I can really focus on sport as we get near the Big East. I think a few upperclassmen have done that as well, so we can really balance that a little bitter than we did last year.”

Schiene said one of his priorities will be having the team focus more on progression rather than results.

“I don’t really get result-oriented like ‘we’re going to win’ this or ‘do this,’” Schiene said. “Just get every person a little better at certain aspects of their game, and I think the team will be better if we do that.”

One of the players who’s shown the most improvement over the winter is junior Ronnie Griggs. Schiene, in particular, highlighted the performance of the junior, who he said was one of the players that showed the most improvement during break.

“Ronnie Griggs has made some really big improvements over the winter,” Schiene said. “He came to the Match Play and drove the ball exceptionally well, eliminated three-putts which are two aspects of the game that we worked on, and he had big improvements there.”

The Blue Demons are back in action Feb. 25 when they compete in the Loyola (Md.) Intercollegiate meet in Arizona.