Feb. 21, 2014
HOUSTON - The University of Houston Men's Golf team opened its spring season in impressive fashion Friday, standing atop the team and individual leaderboards after the First Round of the Bayou City Collegiate Championship at the Golf Club of Houston.
The Cougars, who are ranked No. 15 nationally in the latest Golfstat.com rankings, fired a team score of 8-under-par 280 to stand five strokes ahead of Texas. Individually, senior Wesley McClain was tied for the individual lead after shooting a 4-under-par 68 on the 6,982-yard, par-72 course.
Six of the 10 student-athletes who represented Houston fired par or better on Friday with four Cougars standing among the top-15 leaders. If the Cougars' group of individual competitors had competed as a team this weekend, it would have finished in a tie for fourth after the first 18 holes.
"That's what we try to be about," Houston Director of Golf Jonathan Dismuke said. "We want a good, competitive environment for all our players. One factor that has helped us improve is the depth of our team. "
After three straight pars to open his spring season, McClain birdied the 528-yard, par-5 fourth hole. After bogeying the sixth hole, the Diboll, Texas, added birdies on Nos. 8, 10 and 16 without a bogey to close out his round.
"Wes played solid all day and had just a great all-around effort. He is picking up where we left in the fall," Dismuke said. "Wes has a solid game from top to bottom. When he gets comfortable on the course, he plays really well, and he is hitting the putting ball well."
McClain finished in a tie with South Carolina's Caleb Sturgeon for the first day lead. Oh and Robledo were joined by Nicholas Echavarria (Arkansas), Gavin Hall (Texas), Brett Walker (New Mexico State) and Chad Ramey (Mississippi State) in third place at 69.
Junior Roman Robledo overcame a slow start and was tied for third with a 69. Bogeying two of his first four holes, the Harlingen, Texas, native rebounded on the front nine with a birdie on the par-5 eighth hole before beginning a scoring assault on the back nine.
After three straight pars to open the back nine, Robledo birded four of his final six holes, including three straight on Nos. 13-15.
Playing as an individual, redshirt freshman Emmett Oh posted a career-low round with a 69 and was tied with Robledo and four others at 69. Oh used four birdies on his front nine to overcome a pair of bogeys and was steady on his bogey-free back nine with a birdie on the 545-yard eighth hole to top his previous best of 70, set during the first round of the HBU Husky Invitational on Sept. 30, 2013.
Freshman Matt Scobie continued his recent stellar play and was tied for ninth with a 70. Competing as individual, the Ajax, Ontario, Canada battled through another roller-coaster round that saw him drain a first-day high six birdies with four bogeys.
Senior Curtis Reed overcame a pair of bogeys late on his front nine with four birdies in the first five holes of the back nine and was tied for 16th with a 71.
Senior James Ross waited until nearly the very end before beginning his birdie binge. The Edinburgh, Scotland, fought through two bogeys in his first 13 holes to birdie four consecutive holes from No. 14 to No. 17 and was tied for 23rd at even-par 72.
On the team side, Arkansas (287), South Carolina (288), Rice (288), Baylor (288), Mississippi State (289), Louisiana Tech (290), UTSA (292), Charlotte (293) and USF (293) rounded out the top-11 leaders.
Saturday's Second Round tees off at 9 a.m., Saturday at the Golf Club of Houston. Admission is free, and all fans are invited to attend.
The Cougars will start their day off No. 1, beginning with Pilgrim at 10:30 a.m. He will be followed by Ross (10:39 a.m.), Reed (10:48 a.m.), Robledo (10:57 a.m.) and McClain (11:06 p.m.).
Houston's individual competitors will go off No. 10, beginning with Hamilton at 10:30 a.m. He will be followed by Flanagan and Martino (10:39 a.m.), and Scobie and Oh (10:57 a.m.)
Fans can follow live scoring by visiting GolfStat.com and clicking the appropriate links or by clicking here.
Fans can receive live scoring updates by following @UHCougarGolf on Twitter and catch up with the latest news and notes on the team by clicking LIKE on the team's Facebook page at Facebook.com/HoustonCougarGolf.
Following the Bayou City Collegiate Championship, the Cougars will go international when they compete at the Querencia Cabo Intercollegiate in Querencia, Los Cabos, Mexico. That tournament will be held March 2-4 at Querencia Golf Club.
From there, the Cougars will play host to the Border Olympics at Laredo Country Club in Laredo, Texas, on March 14-15.