“That was the most complete team performance we’ve had all year,” head coach Scott Lieberwirth said. “Each round we played was better than the last and I’m just so proud of our guys and the way we competed…” | Photo courtesy UTEP
For the second straight year, the UTEP Men’s Golf Team put together three solid rounds to win its own Price’s “Give ‘Em Five” Invitational on Sunday at the Butterfield Trail Golf Club.
The Miners outlasted No. 24 Marquette in the final round, shooting a tournament total of 13-under 839 (275-283-281) to maintain a comfortable 10-stroke lead over the Golden Eagles and ending their fall season on a high note. Marquette’s Hunter Eichhorn was the individual winner of the tournament, slipping by UTEP’s Charles Corner by one stroke with a 9-under 204 (67-72-65) performance. Three of UTEP five starters finished in the top-10, while one UTEP golfer playing as an individual finished in the top five.
“That was the most complete team performance we’ve had all year,” head coach Scott Lieberwirth said. “Each round we played was better than the last and I’m just so proud of our guys and the way we competed. Charles Corner finishing in second place was the best individual finish that we’ve had of any of our guys this year. It was really a strong top-to-bottom performance.”
Corner started his weekend off on track to beat the tournament record of 197 after an impressive round one of 64. The senior ended with 8-under 205 (64-71-70), getting back under par in his third round after consecutive birdies to finish the tournament. Corner had four birdies in the final round and led the field with 16 total. Corner never fell further than second in the standings.
“Charles played great. Most of the fall he’s been kind of our rock as far as, we could lean on him and he would deliver good scores more often than not,” Lieberwirth said. “These past couple of tournaments, he’s been extremely solid for us and I’m really happy for Charles. He’s a senior, he really wants to play well in his last time around here to play here as a UTEP Miner.”
The Miners also saw strong play from Aaron Terrazas, who shot his low round of the tournament today for finish in fifth place with 4-under 209 (70-70-69). Terrazas remained even-par through the first 11 holes before carding a birdie on No. 13 and No. 18 to get two-under. The junior had 36 pars and 11 birdies on the weekend.
Senior Prescott Mann was one stroke behind Terrazas, finishing with a share of sixth after firing 3-under 210 (69-71-70). Mann had three birdies on the day for 13 total in his final Price’s tournament.
Also playing in his final home tournament, Nicklas Pihl had a steady round with three birdies to finish in a tie for 14th with 2-over 215 (72-71-72) and newcomer Santiago Castilla rounded out UTEP starters with his top-50 finish, shooting 10-over 223 (74-75-74) for a share of 41st.
All starters contributed to a field-leading 58 birdies while also combining to lead in par 4 (4.05 avg./+8) and par 5 (4.53 avg./+21) scoring.
“Aaron Terrazas had a nice, solid tournament, Prescott Mann played great for us this week, he always plays well here on this course, and Nicklas Pihl even contributed three very solid rounds for us,” Lieberwirth said.
Among the Miners playing as individuals, Ricardo Catalan was impressive in his fourth place finish, firing 5-under 208 (67-70-71) to be the highest finisher of any other individual.
Catalan had four birdies in the third round, including clutch back-to-back birdies in his final two holes to bring him even-par on the day. The sophomore, who walked onto the team last season, had 13 birdies in the tournament.
Settavut Paradee carded his strongest round of the tournament after firing 68 on Sunday, bringing his weekend total to 7-over 220 (77-75-68) and notching a whopping seven birdies in his final 18 to finish tied for 30th. Chad Ahn was close behind, shooting another eagle today in his round of 74 for 8-over 221 (74-73-74) to share a spot in 35th.
Ahn had two eagles throughout the weekend and seven birdies. Eduardo Gonzalez finished tied for 50th to keep every UTEP player in the top-50 of the field, shooting a total of 12-over 225 (76-77-72). His low round of the tournament today saw two birdies.
The win marked the first tournament title of the season for the Miners. The team will return for the spring on Jan. 29-30 to compete in the Arizona Intercollegiate.
“I think we know that we can compete with some of the ranked teams in this country,” Lieberwirth said. “We have, in individual rounds, been able to compete with some of the better teams in the country but this was really the first time that we’ve put three consecutive strong rounds together in a tournament so I think that’s going to give us a lot of confidence to know that we can do this from now on.”
“We’re going to enjoy this one right now.”