Men’s golf finishes fourth in first tournament of spring play

Men’s golf finishes fourth in first tournament of spring play

February 09
22:15 2016

Austin Jackson | Staff Writer

@a_jack17

Mean Green men’s golf kicked off tournament play this week at the UTSA Oak Hills Invitational, finishing fourth despite standout performances from freshman Ian Snyman and junior Alejandro Villasana.

In a back-and-forth finish, Snyman placed in third, just two strokes shy of his first individual victory. Despite not qualifying for the top five team, Snyman played one of the best tournaments of his North Texas career.

Snyman said his ability to hit the ball straight was a big advantage on the tight, tree-lined fairways of Oak Hills.

“The course suited my game,” Snyman said. “I’m not one of longest hitters, but I can keep it in play.”

With the help of a new putter and head coach Brad Stracke’s pre-tournament putting drills, Snyman said his touch on the greens was taken from average to exceptional.

“I changed putters a few days before the tournament, and it was the perfect switch,” said Snyman. “My putter was hot.”

After day one, Snyman went into his final round in second place. But with just four holes left to play, Texas State University junior David Faraudo Godinez and Louisiana Tech University senior Victor Lange stormed ahead to tie for first.

“Obviously winning would have been great, but I’m happy with the finish,” Snyman said. “I did not play my best golf, so getting close is a good feeling, I look forward to the day everything comes together.”

Meanwhile, as a team, the Mean Green started its first round slow with a team 18-over 302, good enough for 11th place.

“All but one player on our team hasn’t played in a golf tournament in over three months, and it showed,” Stracke said. “We had a difficult time controlling our golf ball and struggled on the greens as well.”

But North Texas bounced back in its final two rounds, shaving 10 strokes off its total in round two and one more stroke in round three for a 291.

The improvement took the Mean Green to fourth place behind No. 11 University of Oklahoma, Louisiana Tech and Baylor University, which won for the second straight year.

North Texas was boosted by the play of Villasana, who made a statement in his return to tournament play. The junior from Mexico only played one tournament in the fall, but stormed into spring with a team-best final round of 70 to seal his first top-10 finish since the fall of 2014.

“I’m happy to know that I’m going on the right track,” Villasana said. “It was really important for me to go out there and perform well so that I can gain coach’s trust and hopefully put me in the lineup for future events.”

Junior team captain Cory Churchman finished 27th while junior Colin Pearson, sophomore Michael Cotton and freshman Thomas Rosenmueller each finished outside the top 30.

“We battled hard and managed a decent showing,” Churchman said. “It wasn’t what we were looking for, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Getting back in the rhythm of tournament golf will help with that.”

The Mean Green will get its next shot at tournament success on Feb. 26 at the John Hayt Classic.

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