After a successful freshman season in which he led the Quakers with a team-low 73.9 stroke average and was Penn’s low scorer in six tournaments, Max Marsico is continuing to excel this offseason.
Earlier this month, Marsico shot a two-round 145 at Rio Secco Golf Club to qualify for the 2011 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship, which will take place at the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon from June 27-July 2. His low score earned him the only automatic bid to the APL Championships as well as a chance to play for a berth in the 2012 Masters next April.
“As far as individual golf, I’d say this is in the upper tier of events you could try to get into,” Marsico said of his APL berth. “It’s a great accomplishment to get in, but you also want to take advantage of the opportunity.”
Marsico’s qualification came close to his hometown of Las Vegas, which is only roughly 12 miles from Rio Secco Golf Club in Henderson, NV. Marsico claims that the close proximity wasn’t an advantage, though.
“I’d only played [Rio Secco] probably five or six times in my life,” Marsico said. “It wasn’t like it was my home course.”
Rio Secco’s design favoring a good, long game may have favored Marsico, however.
“Max kills it,” Penn golf coach Scott Allen said. “He hits it a real long way, so that makes everything a little bit easier for him.”
“It’s definitely a course based on accuracy,” Marsico said. “Because of my length, I was able to gear back on some holes and make sure I kept it in the fairway and still have similar length shots that other guys would have with drivers.”
The APL tournament will be Marsico’s second USGA national event. He previously competed in the 2009 U.S. Amateur Championship, where he shot a two-round 155.
“I think [previous USGA experience] will help,” Marsico said. “You’ve got to focus on playing well in the event, and having played in one before, you can kind of use the experience to keep your mind focused on playing well.”
According to Allen, the APL Championship will give Marsico an opportunity to showcase his talents on a bigger stage than Ivy League competition normally provides.
“He could play in the Pac-Ten, ACC, Big 12, but we were very lucky he chose Penn,” Allen said. “We don’t get a chance to see the top twenty teams in the country every week, so to be able to compete at the APL with some of the top players in the country is only going to reinforce what I think he already knows, which is that he can play with anybody.”