Men's Golf Ready to Go at NCAA Baton Rouge Regional
May 15, 2013
BATON ROUGE, La. - Nearly a month after winning its first Conference USA title in more than a decade, the University of Houston Men's Golf program will tee off in the NCAA postseason for the second consecutive season at the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional on Thursday morning.
The Cougars, who stand at No. 26 in the latest GolfStat national rankings, begin play at 8:20 a.m., Thursday, on hole No. 10 at the 7,436-yard, par-72 course at The University Club.
Houston earned its place in the NCAA Regionals for the second straight season with a 3-stroke victory against No. 21 SMU on April 21-23 at the Conference USA Championships. It was the Cougars' first team title since 2001 and marks the first time Houston will compete in consecutive Regionals since the program went to six straight from 1997 to 2002.
At that event, sophomore Roman Robledo posted a second-round 65 to tie a school record at a conference postseason tournament and finished at 8-under-par 208 to win the C-USA individual title and capture the first collegiate championship of his career.
For the second straight tournament, director of golf Jonathan Dismuke and associate head coach Chris Hill will use the starting lineup of Robledo, juniors Curtis Reed and Wesley McClain, sophomore Kyle Pilgrim and freshman Vincent Martino.
For Thursday's First Round, the Cougars will tee off No. 10 with Reed leading the way at 8:20 a.m. McClain (8:30 a.m.), Pilgrim (8:40 a.m.), Martino (8:50 a.m.) and Robledo (9 a.m.) will follow shortly after. Houston will be paired with No. 23 Mississippi State and No. 35 Northwestern in the First Round.
"I like the way we are playing. Several guys have enjoyed success in the spring," Dismuke said. "I like where our team is."
Robledo has been one of the Cougars' steadiest performers all season. The Harlingen, Texas, native leads the team with a 72.83 scoring average, two top-five finishes and four top-10 showings. With his impressive showing at the C-USA Championships, he was named to the All-Tournament Team and to the All-Conference USA First Team.
Reed is the only Cougar to compete in every team-scoring event during the last three years. The Castroville, Texas, native ranks third on the team with a 73.30 average but tops the Cougars with 13 rounds of par or better. The Medina Valley High product also earned a place on the All-Conference USA First Team and finished second at the Louisiana Classics in early March.
Reed and Robledo are the only Cougars with NCAA postseason history. Reed set a school record with a 66 in the opening round at the 2012 NCAA Athens Regional and tied for 21st with a score of 217, while Robledo tied for 45th at 221 in his first NCAA Regional.
McClain stands second on the team with a 73.19 scoring average and 11 rounds of par or better and was an All-Conference USA Second-Team honoree. He helped lead the Cougars to the team title at the Border Olympics in mid-March with a second-place finish and was twice honored as the league's Golfer of the Week.
Pilgrim broke into the starting lineup during the spring season and has remained there. Competing in 10 tournaments, the Colleyville, Texas, native is tied for third among the Cougars with 10 rounds of par or better.
Pilgrim also has been a leader for the Cougars in the classroom, receiving the C-USA Academic Medal with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.75 or better and earning places on the C-USA All-Academic Team and Commissioner's Honor Roll.
Martino made an impact during his first collegiate season. The Southlake, Texas, native is one of four Cougars to compete in at least 10 tournaments this season and tied for fourth at the Rice Intercollegiate in early February.
The Cougars join an elite field at the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional, which features 10 of the nation's top 50 teams. In addition to the No. 5 seed Cougars, other teams include (1) #2 Alabama, (2) #10 Florida), (3) #17 and host LSU, (4) #23 Mississippi State, (6) #34 Northwestern, (7) #38 Tennessee, (8) #47 South Alabama, (9) #50 Coastal Carolina, (10) UAB, (11) Wichita State, (12) Southeastern Louisiana and (13) Houston Baptist.
The top-five teams and the top individual not from a qualifying team advances to the NCAA Championships, to be held May 28 to June 2 on the Crabapple Course at Capital City Club in Atlanta.
Eighty-one teams and 45 individuals not from those teams were selected to compete in the NCAA Regionals. That group has been spread out at six NCAA Regional sites across the country.
This will be the 16th NCAA Regional appearance for the Cougars since that format was instituted in 1989. Houston has not advanced to the NCAA Championships since 2001 when it tied for 20th at Duke Golf Club in Durham, N.C.
Fans can follow live scoring by visiting GolfStat.com and following 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.
If the Cougars finish among the top-five team leaders, they will advance to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2001. The NCAA Championships will be held May 28 to June 2 on the Crabapple Course at Capital City Club in Atlanta.