North Texas Daily

International recruits bolster men’s golf roster

International recruits bolster men’s golf roster

International recruits bolster men’s golf roster
February 06
11:00 2019

The North Texas men’s golf program had a successful fall season, hosting the Maridoe Collegiate Invitational for the first time in school history.

The Mean Green credits their recent success to the athletes they have recruited from overseas.

Thomas Rosenmueller, a senior from Germany, won the first tournament for a Mean Green player since 2015 when he won an individual tournament as a freshman.

The successful fall season and continued tradition of North Texas golf have not come from just one player overseas. Carlos Ortiz and Sebastian Munoz are two Mean Green alumni who now play on the PGA Tour, both from different countries.

This year’s team features six different international players, ranging everywhere from Mexico to Iceland.

Head coach Brad Stracke said he and his staff try to recruit talented players, regardless of where they live.

“We’re trying to win championships and recruit the best players that fit into our program,” Stracke said. “I don’t care where they are from.”

Freshman Lenny Bergsson, of Gerdabaer, Iceland, practices putting at practice on Thursday. Oct. 18, 2018. Image by: Jordan Collard

Lenny Bergsson, a freshman from Gardabaer, Iceland, said his recruiting visit to Denton was the deciding factor in where he chose to continue his collegiate career. He said North Texas was the place he wanted to be.

“I came to Denton for a visit last year and I loved everything about this school, the city of Denton and the people I am surrounded by,” Bergsson said. “I love the [warm] weather since I come from the freezing cold.”

Stracke recently recruited 18-year-old Alejandro Madariaga from Mexico, who will join the Mean Green next fall. Madariaga took fifth-place at the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship and finished in the top 25 two weeks ago in the Latin America Amateur Championship.

“He’s a great player and one of the best recruits we’ve ever had here since I’ve been at North Texas,” Stracke said.

Another reason why many of American-born players don’t come to play at North Texas or other mid-major programs is because of the reputation that comes with Group of 5 programs. Texas, Alabama and Oregon are just three of the teams that seem to always find themselves in the NCAA Championships in May. Stracke said pedigree plays a big part in why American players choose Power 5 schools over mid-major programs. The Mean Green don’t let their situation slow them down, however.

“Even though we have some of the best facilities of the country at Maridoe, some kids look at those Power 5 schools as the place to be,” Stracke said. “But we win our battles as well. Alejandro and our other recruits were being recruited by big Power 5 programs and he ended up choosing to come here.”

As one can imagine, there would be many difficulties in coming to a new country and trying to handle playing a sport, going to school and making friends. Kristof Ulenaers, a redshirt sophomore from Belgium, said all of the Mean Green players miss home from time to time, but the reason they continue to stay in Denton is for the “love of the game.”

“There are some homesick moments, but you’re so busy over here that you don’t realize it a whole lot,” Ulenaers said. “You constantly think about your goals and performance. So yeah, there’s always times when you miss your family but it’s something we get used to.”

Ulnaers also said another struggle in coming to the U.S. was picking up the vocabulary Texans and other Americans use.

“I could speak English pretty decent before I came, but it was still pretty hard to adjust to how people talk here,” Ulenaers said. “I had to learn a lot of the slang words and other words I didn’t see or learn at my old school.”

The Mean Green start spring tournaments on Feb. 17 in Houston at The All-American Intercollegiate.

Featured Image: Senior Thomas Rosenmueller, of Munich, Germany, practices at the driving range at Maridoe Golf Club on Oct. 18, 2018. Image by: Jordan Collard.

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Bronte Hermesmeyer

Bronte Hermesmeyer

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