UH finishes fourth in C-USA
The Cougars ended the season strong Tuesday with a solid fourth-place finish at the Conference USA Championships at the Texarkana Country Club.
An up-and-down season was capped off by the efficient play of a young group led by freshman Curtis Reed. It was the Cougars’ highest finish at the C-USA Championships since 2003. A final team score of 874 tied UH with the UAB Blazers for fourth place.
“I was pretty pleased with our performance,” head coach Jonathan Dismuke said. “We came out of the gates pretty good and had a nice solid round in the first.
“We struggled a little bit in the second round, but we came back in the final round and put a pretty good number up on the board. We had a pretty solid finish.”
Reed was sensational for the Cougars, posting a Top 10 finish with a 2-under par 214 as he was named to the C-USA All-Tournament Team.
“Curtis had a great week, he ended up finishing fifth — he played really solid. He had four eagles, led the field in eagles, which was pretty cool,” Dismuke said.
“He has really progressed over the course of the year and has improved tremendously. When he is hitting on all cylinders, he is a great competitor and is hard to beat.”
Soggy conditions alter level of play Monday
After a third-place standing following day one of the tournament, the Cougars had to battle strong winds and a two-hour rain delay in round two Monday to finish with a score of 297 and a tie for fifth place.
“We were pretty fortunate with the weather,” Dismuke said. “The rain Monday really softened up the golf course, it allowed for some lower scoring Tuesday.”
Hitting the ground running
A strong start was key for the Cougars fourth-place finish. The third-place standing after day one was their best first-round start since the Cabo Collegiate win in October 2010.
The Cougars stayed in the top five after every round and placed higher than No. 44 East Carolina, who finished in sixth.
“Getting off to a good start is extremely important; this is by far our best start of the spring,” Dismuke said.
Joining Reed with solid play was the only sophomore competing in Wil Dusenbery, who scored a 220 (+4), freshman Jesse Dromer with a 225 (+9), Wesley McClain scored a 226 (+10) and Bryn Flanagan scored a 227 (+11).
“We’ve asked a lot out of those four freshmen this year, “Dismuke said. “They’ve had to be thrown in there right away. Even though they are young they have a lot of experience, and we’re glad to have them.”
In a tie for fifth place heading into yesterday’s final round, Dismuke said that he felt his team was capable of coming from behind to catch No. 32 Central Florida, the Memphis Tigers and Tulsa who all finished ahead of the Cougars.
“I felt we had to post a really low score,” Dismuke said. “We were within striking distance for sure.”
With a round three score of 280, the UCF Knights were able to capture the C-USA Championship, and earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Regional Tournament. The Knights jumped up two places after being in third place after day two.
Memphis stayed in second place finishing with a team score of 864. Holding a first-place finish after day two, Tulsa fumbled away its lead, shooting a 291 in round three.
Memphis junior Jonathan Fly was the indivual champion with a score of 209, and seven strokes under par.
The four freshmen will be returning for the 2011-2012 season with a year of experience under their belts. Dismuke said things are looking bright for UH moving forward.
“We’ve asked a lot out of them, throwing all four of them in the lineup for the entire year, which is pretty much unheard of,” Dismuke said. “We’ve made huge strides in the direction of the program; these guys will be much better for us in the future.
“We are starting to develop as a program and are committed to making this program great again. We have talented players who work hard and do all the right things.”