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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Golf

Senior golfer looks to cap off college career with strong finish


Senior Michael Perras was the first person in Houston Cougars’ golf history to win an NCAA Regional title and a conference tournament championship | Photo Courtesy of UH Athletics

After an up and down season, the men’s golf team is sending a lone Cougar to compete at the Bryan Regional on Monday for a spot at the National championship in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Senior Michael Perras has done it all for the Cougars over his four years at UH and wants to add another feather in his cap before graduating.

In 2016, Perras won the Franklin regional and in 2017, Perras won the American Athletic Conference Championship, but the national title has evaded him.

Perras said the trip to nationals was one of his favorite experiences at UH and gave him valuable experience.

“Playing in Oregon, it was a really tough course and really strong field. We were all so excited to be there and happy to compete,” said Perras.

Getting to regionals was no sure thing for Perras, who struggled early in the season along with the entire men’s team. The roller coaster year was tough on the team, who maybe became a little too negative at times according to Director of Golf Jonathan Dismuke.

“Lot of lows and some highs as well. But I feel like even in bad stretches we’ve been able to come back from it,” said Perras, “It would definitely be nice to finish off the year strong with all the struggles earlier the year.”

It has been a long journey through the season, but even longer since Perras started playing golf as a child.

Beginnings

Perras said he started playing golf as kid just for fun with his friends, but became more serious about it in junior high school. In high school, Perras started really improve and take more steps towards the player he is today.

But it wouldn’t have been possible without the guidance of his grandfather, Fred Marti of Houston’s 1962 undefeated national champion golf team and a former PGA golfer.

“My grandfather has always been my swing coach and taught me everything about the game,” said Perras, “He’s been my biggest influence.”

Even with the family legacy and years of experience, Perras was not highly ranked as a junior golfer. But Dismuke said that the late edition to the 2014 signing class has always had poise on the green was beyond his years.

“His demeanor on the golf course has always been great. Nothing ever seems to bother him,” said Dismuke, “He wasn’t the highest ranked player but you could tell he did a lot of things really well and that he was going to develop over his four years here.”

Perras’ growth on the field was matched by his growth off the field and he matured as many college students do when faced with the challenges of more independence.

“When he came in he was a young, shy 18-year-old kid and he’s really developed into a man over his four years. It’s really been an honor to coach him over his career,” said Dismuke.

Dismuke also praised Perras’ family, who was a key factor in the decision for the Deer Park native to stay close to home.

Perras said, “To get out of Texas is such a far drive. Right out of high school, it didn’t really sound too good to me.”

Finishing strong

Perras fell short at the American Athletic Conference championship, where he tied for 10th, but his performance over the season as a whole earned him a solo bid to the Bryan Regional.

“It’s exciting, I’m disappointed my team isn’t there with me, but being able to represent Houston and play at my third consecutive regional really means a lot,” said Perras, “Hopefully I can finish it off strong.”

The top six teams from the regional and all their players will qualify for nationals, but only the number one individual not from those six teams from the regional will advance.

The Traditions Club course has many of it’s holes pointing different directions, some east to west, some northwest to southeast, and every possible combination to make a tough, demanding course.

“You really got to have a lot of awareness of how the holes layout and what direction they go compared to wind direction,” said Dismuke, “There is a lot of complexity because it really spins you around and it’s easy to lose sight of what direction you’re going.”

Both Dismuke and Perras said they are ready for the challenge though, as it is a course they have played on many times before.

Although Perras will stand alone on the green, he expects a few of his friends will still be there, but that he will be focused on the game.

“They’ll be cheering me on from somewhere for sure,” said Perras. “But I just gotta keep a positive attitude, take it one shot at a time, not worry about everyone else and just play good golf.”

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