Golf Opens 2012 Fall Season at The Invitational
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. - The University of Houston Golf team opens its 2012 fall season Sunday morning when it tees off at on the Ocean Course at The Invitational at Kiawah Island Golf Resort.
Less than four months after leading the Cougars into their first NCAA Regional team appearance since 2006, head coach Jonathan Dismuke and his team start the year at one of golf's premier venues. In early August, Kiawah Island Golf Resort hosted the PGA Championship on the Ocean Course.
"We do everything we can do to prepare for championships. When you look at our schedule, we go to championship venues," Dismuke said. "We compete at places that have hosted some of the nation's top events."
In 2011-12, the Cougars posted 10 top-10 team finishes, including a share of the Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic championship. The team earned a berth into the NCAA Athens Regional, tying for ninth in their first NCAA postseason team appearance since 2006.
The team welcomes back 10 student-athletes who played a year ago and was boosted by the addition of four talented newcomers.
The tournament features 54 holes of play with 18 holes each day. Play begins at 7 a.m. (CDT) Sunday and Monday with Tuesday's final round slated to start at 6:30 a.m. (CDT).
Houston will compete on the approximately 7,200-yard, par-72 Ocean Course. Just more than a month ago, that facility hosted the PGA Championship.
The Cougars will face Akron, USF, USC Aiken, Mercer, Florida, UAB, Stephen F. Austin, Georgia Southern, UT Arlington, USC Upstate, Davidson, St. John's, Texas State and host College of Charleston.
This will be the first of four tournaments in which the Cougars will compete as a team during the fall. From there, the team will take a two-week break from competition before playing at the Shoal Creek Invitational on Sept. 24-25 in Birmingham, Ala.
Six Cougars will compete in the season-opening event with the four lowest scores counting toward the team total. The lineup features five returning student-athletes and one newcomer.
"We had a great qualifier for this first tournament, and I am excited about taking this group," Dismuke said. "It's going to be a great test for us. The tougher the course, the more it suits us. We are a good ball-striking team, and this should be a lot of fun."
Roman Robledo begins his sophomore season and returns as the Cougars' leading scorer from a year ago. In 2011-12, Robledo led Houston with a 72.97 scoring average and 15 rounds of par or better. He posted four top-10 individual finishes, including a fifth-place showing at the Conference USA Championships to earn a place on that event's All-Tournament Team.
Junior Curtis Reed joined Robledo as the only Cougars to compete in all 13 team-scoring tournaments a year ago. The Castroville, Texas, native finished third on the team with a 73.56 average and tied for second with 13 rounds of par or better.
Competing in his first NCAA Regional, Reed posted an opening round 66, setting a school record for the lowest round in any NCAA postseason event.
Will Dusenbury is one of only two seniors on the 2012-13 team after competing in six tournaments a year ago. The 2011 C-USA Newcomer of the Year, Dusenbury tied for 23rd at the Border Olympics and shot a second-round 69 at the Lone Star Invitational, his 2011 season debut.
Sophomore Kyle Pilgrim broke into the Cougars' starting lineup midway through the spring a year ago, competing in five straight events. He tied for 29th at the Border Olympics with a second-round 72 and will be making his fall debut as a Cougar at The Invitational.
Junior Jesse Droemer played in 12 tournaments a year ago and earned a pair of top-five finishes to lead the Cougars. The Sealy, Texas, native posted 11 rounds of par or better, including a season-low 67 in the first round of the HBU Husky Invitational. Finishing third at that event, Droemer went on to be named C-USA Golfer of the Week following that performance.
Freshman Blair Hamilton will make his collegiate debut when the Cougars tee off Sunday. An award-winning player who hails from Burlington, Ontario, Canada, Hamilton was a member of Team Canada's Development Squad and brings vast international experience to the Cougars this season.