Logan Sabins strikes an iron shot during a tournament last season. Photo courtesy of Butler Golf Twitter.
DREW FAVAKEH | STAFF REPORTER | firstname.lastname@example.org
Butler men’s golf returns with all five student-athletes who comprised last season’s lineup, which finished third in the Big East Championship.
Thus far, Butler has participated in three qualifying rounds, including Sept. 7 at the Trophy Club in Lebanon, Sept. 8 at the Brickyard Crossing at speedway track and Sept. 9 at their home course in Highland Golf Club.
Their performance in qualifying has provided enough evidence to head coach Bill Mattingly to think this team can enact revenge on Marquette University and Georgetown University, despite not having followed their recruiting trails over the summer.
“I don’t think third was our best effort,” Mattingly said. “I think we have a good team, but each year is a little more experienced. The expectation is definitely to try to win the conference.”
The veteran-laden team is made up of six upperclassmen, including seniors Patrick Allgeier and Logan Sabins, both of whom earned All-Big East second-team honors last season.
Allgeier won two Fort Wayne Golf Association championships this summer. He attributed the repeat victories to finding “confidence” and “comfort” in a game that rewards the patient and punishes the greedy.
“This season, I want to stick to my game plan [I had] this summer, of how I want to attack and pursue the golf course,” Allgeier said. “With that, just be confident that you know, you’ll have bad holes in golf, but try not to have any big mistakes on the golf course, keep all the mistakes as minimal as possible.”
Sabins, on the other hand, has been battling an injured back. He arrived at Butler’s campus early, in late July, to work out with Evan Weeden, Butler men’s golf trainer. Sabins said the repetitive motion of swinging a golf club has caused lower back pain throughout his life. So, he is trying to improve his core strength through exercises such as band work, sit-ups, twists.
“Working with Evan here, I haven’t had any issues,” Sabins said. “That is a lot more beneficial because when I was going to see doctors [in his hometown of New Jersey], I had to go every week because it was flaring up.”
The Bulldogs also return with junior Michael Cascino, whose 74.6 scoring average was third on the team. Cascino qualified for the United States Open sectional after having placed third in the qualifier at Highland Golf Club on May 1 with a score of 68. Before the round, however, he admitted to having a poor performance at Olympia Country Club, a 30 minute drive from his hometown of Palos Park.
After a talk with his swing coach, Cascino changed his mindset to thinking about golf “backward.”
“Putting is the most important, then it’s chipping, then it’s wedge play, then it’s iron, then it’s driving,” Cascino said. “I always thought it was the opposite, so when I was hitting the ball bad, I would play bad. Now that I have improved my short game, I can still scrape out rounds when I’m not hitting as well.”
Sophomore Raymond Sullivan, whose 75.5 scoring average was fourth on the team last season, leads the team in qualifying. Sophomore Michael Tanaka, a transfer from Lehigh University, ranked second on the Mountain Hawks with a scoring average of 76.28 as a freshman. He is third on Butler in qualifying. Coach Mattingly referred to him as the team’s “pleasant surprise.”
“We’ve got a sophomore leading the qualifier, we’ve got a walk-on that’s number three, and we got all these guys that have all this experience,” Mattingly said. “If you’re not fighting for your spot, then you’re probably not that good.”
Butler starts their season with the Crusader Invitational hosted by Valparaiso University, from Sept 16 to 17. They go on to play at the Skyhawk Fall Classic hosted by the University of Tennessee-Martin, followed by the Georgetown Intercollegiate and Musketeer Classic, before heading into Spring play.