Golf Opens Play at Conference USA Championships
April 20, 2012
TEXARKANA, Ark - After 11 regular-season tournaments, the University of Houston golf team takes its first step during the 2012 postseason when it competes at the Conference USA Championships, starting Sunday morning.
The three-day, 54-hole tournament tees off at 8 a.m. with 18 holes scheduled each day off split tees on the 6,935-yard, par-72 course at Texarkana Country Club. Fans can follow live scoring by visiting GolfStat.com or by clicking here. Fans also can receive regular Twitter updates throughout the Championships by following @UHCougarGolf or by clicking here.
"Texarkana Country Club is a great, old-school layout with plenty of big trees dotting the course. There is a premium on driving the ball, and you must shape the ball in both directions," head coach Jonathan Dismuke said. "It's a great test of golf."
A year ago, the Cougars finished fourth at the league's annual postseason event. It was the program's best showing since placing fourth in 2003 at Lake Jovita Golf and Country Club in Dade City, Fla.
Leaving Houston on Friday afternoon, the Cougars will work through a practice round Saturday afternoon before the tournament opens play Sunday morning.
The Cougars will compete against 10 other members of Conference USA with the championship winner earning the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Regional.
This season, Conference USA ranks among the national leaders in college golf with more than half of the Championship field ranked among the top-50 leaders. That group includes No. 23 UCF, No. 31 East Carolina, No. 33 UAB, No. 40 Memphis, No. 43 SMU and No. 49 Tulsa.
The Cougars check in at No. 53 in the latest GolfStat national rankings after starting the season well over No. 100.
UTEP, Marshall, Rice and Southern Miss round out the field.
"We have a very strong conference. In any given week, any of these teams have a chance to win the conference championship. This is the strongest I have seen the conference since I have been coaching at Houston," Dismuke said. "We could have as many as seven teams advance to the NCAA Regional, and that's a credit to the depth of the conference and how competitive it is."
This will be the fourth time overall and second straight season that Houston has competed at Texarkana Country Club. The Cougars finished fifth, sixth and fourth at the 2007, 2008 and 2011 Championships, respectively.
Junior James Ross, freshman Roman Robledo, sophomores Jesse Droemer and Curtis Reed and Bryn Flanagan are scheduled to compete in the starting lineup for the Cougars.
"We've had two straight performances that were less than what we would have liked," Dismuke said. We have addressed some issues and focused very hard on some areas of our game that needed improvement."
Ross leads the team with a 72.87 scoring average and ranks second on the team with 12 rounds of par or better. The Edinburgh, Scotland, native fired a second-round 64 at the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate on Oct. 31, 2001, becoming only the fourth player in school history to post an 18-hole total that low.
He has posted a team-high four top-10 finishes this season, including a tie for second at the Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic on Sept 26-27 in the second fall tournament of the year.
Robledo is competing in his first collegiate season and has made an immediate impact. The Harlingen, Texas, native leads the Cougars with 13 rounds of par or better and is a close second Ross with a 73.06 average.
He has posted four top-20 finishes this season and place third at the Rice Intercollegiate on Feb. 20-21.
Although he stands fourth on the team with a 73.70 scoring average, Reed may be entering the C-USA Championships as the Cougars' steadiest recent performer. A native of Castroville, Texas, he has posted two top-15 finishes in his last three tournaments with season-low 69s in the second round of each of those events.
Reed joins Robledo as the only Cougars to compete in all 11 team-scoring tournaments this season.
Droemer ranks third on the team with a 73.60 scoring average and finished third at the Houston Baptist Husky Invitational on Oct. 24-25.
Flanagan has recently become a regular in the starting lineup. He posted three consecutive rounds of par or better at the Jim West Intercollegiate on April 1-3 to tie for eighth. A year ago, he opened the C-USA Championships at Texarkana Country Club with a career-low-tying 69.
LAST TIME OUT
In their most recent action, the Cougars finished ninth at their own The Woodlands All-American Intercollegiate. Hosting this tournament for the first time since 2009, the Cougars entered the final round in fifth place but faltered late.
Reed led the Cougars with a 2-under-par 214 at The Woodlands Country Club to tie for 14th. Robledo posted an even-par 72 in the final round.
Despite the tough finish, the Cougars showed promising signs during the tournament's first day with all but one player in the starting lineup posting at least one sub-par round.
Following the Conference USA Championships, the Cougars will learn their NCAA postseason fate. All 81 teams and 45 individuals that qualified for the NCAA Regionals will be unveiled on May 7. More information will follow soon.