Golf Returns to Action at Insperity ASU Invitational
April 4, 2013
AUGUSTA, Ga. - The University of Houston Golf team begins the homestretch of its regular season this weekend when it competes at the Insperity Augusta State Invitational.
Competing on the 7,029-yard, par-72 course at Forest Hills Golf Club, the Cougars will take part in the first of three tournaments during the month of April. The tournament tees off with 36 holes Saturday with a 7:30 a.m., shotgun start before wrapping up with the final 18 holes, beginning with 7:30 a.m., tee times.
After competing in three tournaments in a two-week stretch in March, the Cougars took some time off before returning to action this weekend. The break helped the student-athletes' mental and physical abilities and energized them for the Insperity ASU Invitational.
"We played a lot of golf in a short stretch, so it was good to get away for a bit and recharge the batteries," director of golf Jonathan Dismuke said. "The guys are excited about golf and chomping at the bit to be back in a competitive situation."
In their most recent action, the Cougars won the Border Olympics team championship with a score of 859 at Laredo Country Club. It was the program's second tournament title of the season (Lone Star Invitational, Oct. 14-16, 2012) and its eighth straight top-five team showing in 2012-13.
At the Border Olympics, four Cougars finished among the top-10 individual leaders, led by junior Wesley McClain's second-place showing. The Diboll, Texas, native posted a career-low 211 for the Cougars' lowest individual score of the season.
Sophomore Kyle Pilgrim finished third at 213, thanks to a final-round 68, while sophomore Roman Robledo tied for 10th at 217. Playing as an individual, junior Bryn Flanagan tied for 5th with a score of 216, including a final-round 67.
The 25th-ranked Cougars will be part of an outstanding 15-team field, which features 12 of the nation's top-25 teams, including No. 6 Texas, No. 16 SMU, No. 17 Georgia, No. 23 Tennessee, No. 24 Illinois, No. 28 Clemson, No. 35 South Carolina, No. 37 Virginia Tech, No. 39 UCF, No. 41 Baylor, No. 48 Coastal Carolina, host Augusta State, Purdue and USC Aiken, which is ranked No. 3 in the latest Division II poll.
The tournament features two top-10 teams, four top-20 teams and 13 top-50 squads.
"This is the strongest field we have played in all season. Coming down the stretch, we are going to be measured by other teams," Dismuke said. "This should be a great test for us."
Although Dismuke has led his Cougars into the top-25 national rankings for the first time since September 2001, that fact and the Cougars' standing in the polls has occupied too much of their time.
"We don't talk about the rankings, and we don't focus on that," Dismuke said. "We have other things we want to accomplish. It's nice, but we don't dwell on it."
McClain, Pilgrim, Flanagan, junior Curtis Reed and freshman Vincent Martino will represent the Cougars in Augusta this weekend.
With his play at the Insperity Augusta State Invitational, Reed will be the only Cougar to compete in all nine team-scoring events this season. The Castroville, Texas, native has posted a 73.38 scoring average and leads the team with nine rounds of par or better.
McClain ranks second on the team with a 72.94 scoring average and eight rounds of par or better, while Flanagan has posted a team-best 72.67 average in five tournaments this season. Flanagan closed out his stay at the Border Olympics with a season-low 67 in the final round, the second time he posted an 18-hole total that low in 2012-13.
Pilgrim has competed in seven tournaments this season and finished a career-best third at the Border Olympics. The Colleyville, Texas native lowered his score with each round at that event, including back-to-back sub-par rounds for his second top-five finish of the spring.
Martino started his collegiate career with four consecutive top-20 finishes and tied with Flanagan and junior Jesse Droemer for the team's lowest round with a 67 in the final round at the Rice Intercollegiate on Feb. 5.
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Following the Insperity Augusta State invitational, the Cougars will enjoy Monday's practice round at The Masters at Augusta National Golf Club before flying home to Houston that evening.
"Augusta National is a special place, and to go out there out to a practice round at The Masters is something the guys look forward to all year," Dismuke said. "It's one of the nicest treats we give the guys all year. It's going to be fun."
From there, the team will compete at the Morris Williams Intercollegiate at University of Texas Golf Club on April 13-14 in Austin, Texas.