HOUSTON - The University of Houston Men's Golf program will compete against some of the nation's top teams at some of the premier venues in the country during their 2014-15 schedule, Director of Golf Jonathan Dismuke announced Wednesday.
The Cougars will compete in six states and two countries during the 2014-15 season, traveling as far north as Indiana and Ohio and as far south as Querencia, Los Cabos, Mexico.
Houston, which finished ranked among the top-10 leaders in three final national polls a year ago, will compete in four tournaments as a team during the fall and six regular-season events during the spring campaign. The Cougars also will compete in a unique match-play event on Oct. 19 vs. Southeastern Louisiana, Louisiana-Lafayette and McNeese State at Lake Charles Country Club in Lake Charles, La.
"Our scheduling philosophy never changes. We are trying to get on the best courses to test our skills and develop our ability to compete in different parts of the country," Dismuke said. "By the end of the season, we will be prepared for Regionals and hopefully ready to compete for the national championship."
In 2013-14, Houston finished 10th at the NCAA Championships in its first appearance at the nation's top collegiate event since 2001. Senior Roman Robledo won four individual titles, including three straight to open the spring season, on the way to being named to the PING All-America Second-Team and recently advanced to the U.S. Amateur Championship Quarterfinals.
"If you look at Roman's career, he has made improvement every year, and he is continuing to do that. This is far and away the best summer he has had. I expect him to continue what he has been doing. He is physically gifted and has improved on an off the course in the last three years, and the sky is the limit for him.
This season, six lettermen and two redshirts return for Dismuke and the Cougars. In addition to Robledo, senior Kyle Pilgrim won the 2013 Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic and was named a Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-America Scholar, while junior Vincent Martino competed in seven tournaments, joining the Cougars at the NCAA Championships.
Junior Blair Hamilton also enjoyed a productive summer, rising quickly in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, and competed in the Round of 32 at the 2013 U.S. Amateur Championship in Brookline, Mass.
"This year's group definitely has a lot of physical ability. This group has a lot of firepower and can make a lot of birdies. They can really take advantage of the par-5s. I am excited about their potential."
THE FALL SEASON
The season begins Sept. 5-7 when the Cougars take part at the Northern Intercollegiate, hosted by Northern Illinois at Rich Harvest Farms. A year ago, Houston finished third at this event. After a two-week break, the team returns to action at the Wolf Run Intercollegiate, hosted by Indiana at Wolf Run Golf Club in Zionsville, Ind.
From there, the Cougars hit the road again but only a few hours away when they compete at the Miramont Intercollegiate on Oct. 13-14, hosted by Sam Houston State and Rice at Miramont Golf Club in Bryan, Texas.
Armed with a single remaining day of competition available on his schedule, Dismuke turned Oct. 19 into a special event against three Louisiana teams. The Cougars will meet Louisiana-Lafayette, Southeastern Louisiana and McNeese State in match play at Lake Charles Country Club in Lake Charles, La.
"We don't get a lot of match play experience throughout the year. I wanted to give the guys something different with the extra day that we had," Dismuke said. "We play stroke play all year, but the national championship is decided by match play, so I wanted to give our guys some experience with that format."
The team closes out the fall season on Oct. 27-28 when it plays in the Baylor Intercollegiate at Royal Oaks Country Club in Dallas.
While the team will be done with play at that point, Robledo will continue his fall season a little longer. The Harlingen, Texas, native was invited during the summer and will compete as an individual at the Sun Bowl Refining College All-America Classic at El Paso Country Club on Nov. 7-9.
THE SPRING SEASON
Following the winter break, the Cougars open the spring season when they play host to their own Bayou City Collegiate Championship at Golf Club of Houston in Humble, Texas on Feb. 20-22. A year ago, the Cougars and Robledo started a three-tournament winning streak at this event.
From there, the Cougars will go international when they compete at the Querencia Cabo Collegiate, hosted by SMU at Querencia Golf Club in Los Cabos, Mexico on March 1-3. A year ago, the Cougars won their second straight tournament and defeated eventual national champion Alabama to end the Crimson Tide's 11-tournament winning streak.
The team plays host to the Border Olympics on March 13-14 at Laredo Country Club. This was the team's and Robledo's final win in their three-tournament streak.
The Cougars join with Arkansas to play host again to the Valspar Inviational at Floridian in Palm City, Fla., on March 23-24. Last year, Houston competed in one of the nation's premier collegiate events with four of the country's top 10 teams and 11 of the top 30.
Houston opens the month of April at the 3M Augusta Invitational, hosted by Georgia Regents University on April 4-5 at Forest Hills Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. Following the completion of that tournament, the Houston coaches and student-athletes will enjoy spending the morning of April 6 at a practice round of The Masters before returning home to Houston.
The Cougars close out the regular season on April 11-12 at the Robert Kepler Intercollegiate, hosted by Ohio State on the Scarlet Course at Ohio State Golf Club.
Following the regular season, the Cougars open the postseason when they compete at the American Athletic Conference Championships on April 26-28 on The Quarry Course at Black Diamond Ranch in Lecanto, Fla. The winner of the league's annual postseason event earns an automatic berth into the NCAA Regionals.
A year after advancing to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2001 and the NCAA Regionals for the third consecutive year, the Cougars look to continue both streaks in 2014-15.
NCAA Regional postseason play will be held May 15-17, 2015, at six venues across the country. Those postseason sites are: The Sagamore Club (Noblesville, Ind.); UNC Finley Golf Course (Chapel Hill, N.C.); The Farms Golf Club (San Diego); The Rawls Course (Lubbock, Texas); Gold Mountain Golf Club (Bremerton, Wash.) and The Course at Yale (New Haven, Conn.).
The top-5 teams and top two individuals not on a qualifying team will advance to the NCAA Championships, scheduled for May 29-June 3 at The Concessions Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla. Golf Channel will provide live coverage of the 2015 NCAA Championships.
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