The effort Eric Martin (pictured above) and Luke Brueckner exerted over the summer didn’t take long to pay off in the fall.
In The Master’s University men’s golf team’s season opener this week, Martin finished seventh overall and Brueckner earned a tie for eighth, both marks representing career-best finishes for the sophomores.
Last season, Martin produced the Mustangs’ fifth-best score at six of the team’s seven meets. Brueckner’s best finish was outside the top 60.
That changed Tuesday during the third and final round of the CA State Intercollegiate at Olivas Links Golf Course in Ventura.
Martin shot a 1-under 71 to move up two spots into seventh place. Brueckner carded a 3-under 69 to vault up 11 spots.
Rounding out the Mustangs’ five golfers were Jack Dudeck (t-18, 4-over for the tournament), Karsten Briley (t-18, 4-over) and Jacob Lewis (47th, 17-over). Mitchell Briley, playing unattached, shot 4-over.
The Mustangs compiled a score of 5-under Tuesday to finish at 7-over for the tournament, good for third place behind California Lutheran and Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas). Martin was a big part of the strong finish.
“I just had a lot of confidence playing,” Martin said. “Nothing ever seemed to really get to me and my ball striking was consistently solid.”
Over the offseason, Martin worked extensively on his putting, and, because he was shooting close to par most of the summer, he learned to remain comfortable with a low score – to not let the moment get too big. His 1-under 71 in Monday’s first round marked the first time he finished a competitive round under par as a Mustang.
He repeated the achievement Tuesday to claim the first top-10 finish of his TMU career. His previous best was a tie for 17th at the MCU Fall Invitational last October.
Brueckner’s best moment before this week came last season when he drilled a hole in one at the CA State Intercollegiate. Otherwise, he had a tie for 61st place on his resume.
Now, he has a top-10 finish on a course he’s particularly familiar with. Brueckner’s hometown of Camarillo is 12 miles from Olivas Links, and he played the course this summer. “It was nice to kind of have that home-course advantage,” he said.
Brueckner’s focus over the summer was on improving his accuracy and distance with his driver. He also worked at shaping his shots and ball striking with his irons.
“I spent a lot of time at the driving range,” he said, “and I hit hundreds of shots a week trying to hone my game.”
So far, so good.
The Mustangs will next play at the OUAZ Fall Invitational on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 at Eagles Nest Golf Club in Goodyear, Arizona.
— By Mason Nesbitt, TMU Sports Information Director