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Sunday, July 12, 2020

Golf

Freshman gives UH hope


Freshman Roman Robledo played his first out-of-state tournament this fall at the Gopher Invitational in Minnesota, finishing tied for 14th. Since then he has improved in each subsequent tournament, tying for 11th and 4th-place in UH’s last two events. | Courtesy of UH Athletics

UH golfer Roman Robledo has all the leadership qualities and natural abilities that the Cougars are looking for, but in actuality he is just another freshman making the arduous transition from high school to college.

“It’s a big difference, you really have to get into time management, especially with all the tournaments right now,” Robledo said. “It’s basically like a job. It’s a big difference going from high school to college.”

Robledo has been identified as one of the key players in bringing an NCAA championship back to UH and understands the importance of what is riding on his shoulders.

The Cougars boast one of the most successful college golf teams in NCAA history. UH has captured 16 NCAA championships, 19 conference championships and produced golf greats like Masters Champion Fred Couples and Senior PGA Championship winner Fuzzy Zoeller, who also won the Masters in 1979.

But it has been 26 years since the Cougars have won an NCAA title and 10 years since their last appearance in the tournament; the team has struggled to gain back its prominence in the college golf world.

That’s where Robledo comes in.

“We have a job to do,” Robledo said. “Our job is to bring that NCAA championship back to UH, to bring that legacy back.”

Robledo, who won four straight District 31-5A individual championships while attending Harlingen South High School, was heavily recruited throughout the state and head coach Jonathan Dismuke was immediately impressed with Robledo.

“More so than anything else, his composure on the golf course really stood out to me,” said Dismuke, who is entering his third year as head coach. “His ability to focus on what he needed to do stood out to me more so than anyone I’ve ever recruited.”

It’s that composure and attitude that has lead Robledo to quickly become one of the Cougars’ most consistent players, finishing 2nd in last month’s Fighting Irish Gridiron Classic in South Bend, Ind., and tied for 4th in San Antonio’s Lone Star Invitational, where he lead for the first two individual rounds until a strong and unexpected cold front blew in.

Despite wind gusts upwards of 40 mph, Robledo pushed on, focused on the task at hand.

“There, of course, was some frustration,” Robledo said. “But I always try to keep myself focused on each shot and keep the same composure every time I play.”

Saddled with a heavy work load that includes workouts and practices along with classes, Robledo, who has yet to declare a major but has a burgeoning interest in business, holds onto inspiration from his late mother, whom he lost to cancer his junior year of high school.

“My mom was one of the biggest leaders I’ve ever seen and she is big example of how I am today,” Robledo said. “I try to be the best golfer I can be — and that has never changed.”

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