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Former Mean Green golfers earn PGA Tour card for 2018 season

Former Mean Green golfers earn PGA Tour card for 2018 season

Former Mean Green golfers earn PGA Tour card for 2018 season
September 07
09:53 2018

Two former Mean Green golfers have been able to live up to the phrase “dream, believe, achieve.”

Carlos Ortiz and Juan Sebastian Muñoz were recently notified that they would obtain their PGA Tour Card and start competing on the Tour as soon as Oct. 4 of this year.

The two North Texas alumni qualified for the PGA Tour by being ranked in the Top 25 Earned Money list during the regular season on the Web.com Tour, which is considered the minor league tour for professional golf. Ortiz and Muñoz finished No. 21and No. 7, respectively, on the money list.

Muñoz said the dream was there when he was a little kid, but golf later became nothing more than a hobby.

“When I was young, I wanted to be like Tiger [Woods],” Muñoz said. “But then around 11 or 12 years old, golf was not my priority anymore. I liked playing golf, but it was not my dream.”

It wasn’t until he was able to succeed and obtain the confidence he needed at North Texas to finally realize that becoming a PGA Tour member was a lot more obtainable than he thought.

“I didn’t think it would really be possible until my senior year in

college,” Muñoz said. “I was a good golfer coming into college, but I wasn’t a star. I wasn’t recruited by the highest universities or was on the cover of a golf magazine. It’s a dream that’s developing, and I’m still surprised at things that I’m accomplishing. I haven’t put a roof on it — I’m still believing that I can go far.”

This is not either one of their first stops on the PGA Tour. Muñoz graduated from UNT in 2015 and went on to be the first player from Colombia to ever win a Web.com Tour event. He earned his PGA Tour Card in 2017 and played the entire 2017 season before not being able to retain his card for the 2018 season.

“This sport is really frustrating sometimes,” Muñoz said. “Then sometimes it is really easy, and this year was one of those years where it was clicking. I had lots of good finishes, and I was really proud of the way I performed this year.”

Ortiz, the older of the two, graduated in 2013 from UNT and immediately went to the pro league.

Ortiz competed on the Web.com Tour in 2014 and won three different tournaments, which automatically granted him a PGA Tour card for the 2015 season. He was voted as the Web.com Tour Player of the Year in 2014.

He played well enough in 2015 to return to the PGA Tour for the next season, but Ortiz lost his card prior to the 2017 season.

“It is very hard to get the PGA Tour card,” Ortiz said. “I have been working really hard to get back to the PGA Tour the last two years, and I know my game is good enough to compete out there.”

Ortiz and Muñoz have known each other since their time at North Texas, as they were teammates from 2011-2013. They have also taken similar paths to get to where they are today. Both led their teams to conference championships while winning the individual conference championships as well.

Muñoz said the bond between the golfers was strong when they first met, and nothing has changed since.

“Being able to share this experience with Carlos has been great,” Muñoz said. “He’s a great guy and we motivate each other. We’re going to be close friends, practice a lot together and share lots of experiences throughout the next year.”

Both players played under current North Texas golf coach Brad Stracke. Stracke is a two-time conference coach of the year and has also coached six other players to the PGA Tour.

Ortiz said he looks up to Coach Stracke, and it was a joy to play for him each and every day.

“Coach Stracke helped me so much,” Ortiz said. “I gained a lot experience during my four years playing for him.”

Muñoz also described Stracke as a person that really cares.

“Once I met Brad Stracke, he really had an impact on me,” Muñoz said. “Our whole team was so specific about every detail and about every practice session. He taught us to be very efficient, and I still use that focus and precision while in my pro career.”

When Stracke learned about the great news of his former players being called back up, he said he was excited for both Ortiz and Muñoz.

“I am so proud of what Carlos and Juan have accomplished throughout their careers,” Stracke said. “I am looking forward to watching them play on the PGA Tour again this year.  It is amazing how much positive press these two have given the Mean Green.”

He also said that although both were great golfers with lots of skill, it’s still hard to believe he has been a part of their journey to the PGA Tour.

“When Carlos and Juan arrived here at UNT, they had a lot of talent and above average skillset,” Stracke said. “Even with how talented they were, it would have been difficult to say they would make the PGA Tour.  However, during their final year, you could tell they had improved and had a chance to play on the PGA Tour.”

Muñoz is coming off a year with top-five finishes, and he wants this trip to the PGA Tour to be permanent.

“Being able to keep my card would be great, that’s goal No. 1,” Muñoz said. “I also want to be in the top 25 and try to make a deep run in the playoffs.”

After being asked about what goals Ortiz had in mind for the upcoming PGA Tour season, his answer was simple.

“I want to win out there,” Ortiz said.

Featured Image: Courtesy Mean Green Athletics

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Bronte Hermesmeyer

Bronte Hermesmeyer

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