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Eichhorn wins another

ESCANABA — Hunter Eichhorn has won a second Big East Conference golf championship, while Casey VanDamme has landed a top golf recruit from Marinette.

Eichhorn shared medalist honors Wednesday with Michael Cascino of Butler University at the Big East Tourney at Streamsong Resort’s Blue Course in Bowling Green, Fla.

However, Cascino won a playoff to determine the automatic qualifier to the NCAA regional tournament, leaving Eichhorn a chance to make that event as an at-large entrant.

The Marquette University junior had a final-round 70 but bogeyed No. 18, while Cascino tallied a birdie to force the playoff.

Eichhorn, a native of Carney, Mich. and a four-time Upper Peninsula D-4 champion and former U.P. men’s golf association winner, won the Big East title as a freshman, He is the first Marquette golfer to win a second conference title.

The Golden Eagles missed a chance to repeat as Big East champions when they had a combined 10-over-par on the last two holes. Connecticut University took advantage of that collapse to win the title with an 869 total, six strokes ahead of Marquette.

VanDamme, a native of Perkins, is men’s and women’s golf coach at South Dakota State University. Ty Kretz of Marinette will join VanDamme and the Jackrabbits, who will return 10 players in the fall.

Kretz shared the No. 1 spot in the latest Wisconsin boys class of 2021 and selected South Dakota State over Wisconsin-Green Bay. His father, Pete, owns Little River Golf Course in Marinette.

The younger Kretz played five events on the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour in Florida this spring, winning the Palm Beach Junior Open.

Kretz was runner-up to Bryson Mercier as the Wisconsin Junior Golf Tour player of the year in 2020.

VanDamme is making plans to host the second Island Resort and Casino Collegiate Open later this year. That event will be held at Sage Run Golf Course. Last year’s second version was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eichhorn and his Marquette teammates were scheduled to play at Sage Run last year.

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