UH seeks steady stroke in Augusta
This weekend, two weeks will have passed since the Cougars last hit the links — when they traveled to Choudrant, La. and were rewarded with a ninth place finish at the inaugural Bulldog Invitational hosted by Louisiana Tech.
The Cougars must put behind them their poor team score of 928 and look ahead to Augusta, Ga., home of the Masters, where they will play at nearby Forest Hills Golf Course.
“It’s a great time of year to be in Augusta. There’s so much excitement around the Masters,” head coach Jonathan Dismuke said. “Jim Nantz (UH alumnus) will be calling (them)”
Masters week begins April 5, and the first prestigious major of the professional golf season gets underway with first-round action April 8 and concludes April 11.
In sharp contrast to the quality of play one can expect to see at the Masters, the Cougars have been struggling lately with ninth, 12th, and 14th-place finishes in their last three tournaments. Their goal is not to win, but simply get back on track and play better golf.
“We’ve had a lot of ups and downs this year. In that stretch we’ve had some really good rounds,” Dismuke said. “(But) our first and final rounds have been really, really poor.”
Houston’s struggles with the opening and closing rounds of tournaments were evident at the Bulldog Classic, where their final-round score of 311 managed to undermine a solid second-round score of 299.
“We put way too much pressure on ourselves in that stretch of tournaments, and we didn’t get the results that we wanted,” Dismuke said. “You have to change your mental approach.”
The team’s Mr. Consistent is junior Clark Mitzner, who posted all three rounds in the seventies (76, 74, 75) with a 225 overall score in their last meet, and led the Cougars with an 11th-place individual finish.
“Clark has been our most consistent player all spring. He’s really, really worked hard on his game,” Dismuke said. “I’ve given him a little card to go through his pre-shot routine—it’s kind of like a mental checklist.”
UH’s best finish of the spring season came February 6 at the Redstone Challenge — a one-day 18-hole event. Mitzner shot a career-low 68, with a 34 on both the front and back nine to pace the Cougars.
Dismuke and his team are excited to compete in Augusta as the Masters approaches and plan on taking advantage of the opportunity to learn from the great golfers who will be in attendance.
“We’re actually going to a practice round at Augusta on Monday,” Dismuke said. “We’ll be there for the first practice round; it’s a great event.”
The Administaff ASU Invitational, hosted by Augusta State University, tees off Saturday. Scoring of this event can be tracked online at golfstat.com.
After leaving Georgia, UH will play in the Robert Kepler Invitational on April 10-11 in Columbus, Ohio.