SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Making his collegiate debut, University of Houston freshman Vincent Martino fired a 1-under-par 71 to lead the Cougars and tie for seventh Sunday following the first round of the Lone Star Invitational.
Starting on hole No. 10, the Southlake, Texas, native opened his first collegiate back nine at 1-over-37 on the 6,931-yard, par-72 course at Hill Country Resort Golf Club. However, Martino started his back nine with birdies on two of his first three holes and added another birdie on the 397-yard, par-4 seventh hole to finish at 71.
With a team score of 298, Houston stood in a tie for eighth place. The Cougars battled back from a slow start and finished their day with a combined five birdies during the final three holes by the five-man lineup.
"We got off to a rough start and had some poor swings early," fourth head coach Jonathan Dismuke said. "Fortunately, we made some birdies down the stretch, and that helped us out."
Juniors Wesley McClain and Jesse Droemer each finished with rounds of 2-over-par 74 on the 6,931-yard, par-72 course and were tied for 24th. Droemer started his round with birdies on three of his first four holes but endured a pair of double bogeys later in the round. McClain endured a tough start but rebounded to drain birdies on two of his final three holes.
Sophomore Roman Robledo overcame a front nine that saw a two bogeys and a pair of double bogeys to birdie his last two holes and finish with a 75 to tie for 39th. Junior Curtis Reed also was tied for 39th and capped his day on a positive note with a birdie on the 18th hole.
Sophomore Kyle Pilgrim finished with a first-round 77 to tie for 55th
No. 35 North Texas held the first-day lead with a first-round 284. Denver stood in second at 287 with UTSA (290), Texas State (293), Central Arkansas (293), Sacramento State (295) and Arizona (297) rounded out the top-seven team leaders.
North Texas Rodolfo Cazaubon stood atop the individual leaderboard with a 687, while Pep Angles of Central Arkansas and Carlos Ortiz of North Texas were tied for second with 69s. Three golfers were tied at 70, while Martino joined four others in seventh place.
The three-day, 54-hole tournament continues with teams teeing off holes No. 1 and No. 10 at 8:30 a.m., with an 8 a.m., shotgun start slated for the final round Tuesday.
Following the Lone Star Invitational, the Cougars will send selected student-athletes to the HBU Husky Invitational on Oct. 22-23 at Quail Valley Golf Club in Missouri City, Texas. Dismuke will announce that starting lineup at a later date. It will be the Cougars' final competition of the fall season.