FILE: “We found success last year, but this is a different team,” seventh-year head coach Scott Lieberwirth said. “It’s the first tournament of the year, so you always want to get off on the right foot and get some positive momentum.” | Photo courtesy UTEP
Fifteen teams, including the UTEP men’s golf team, will make their way to Erin Hills Country Club, host of the 117th US Open this past June, when the Marquette Intercollegiate tees off Oct. 1-3 in Milwaukee, WI.
The course will play Par 72 at 7,721 yards – just shy of the US Open layout (7,741), which was the longest in major championship history. The 87 total players competing in the Intercollegiate will begin to tee off at 9 a.m. (CT) on both Sunday and Monday, while the final round on Tuesday will feature an 8:30 a.m. (CT) tee time.
“From a difficulty standpoint, this will probably be the most challenging course we’ll play all year,” head coach Scott Lieberwirth said. “I’m sure the condition and the set up will be much different than how they did the US Open, but regardless, it’s a long golf course, its going to be a great test for us. It’s defiantly more difficult than anything we have here in El Paso.”
The Miners’ lineup for this week include senior and UTEP top finisher at last week’s William H. Tucker Intercollegiate Nicklas Pihl, fellow seniors Charles Corner and Prescott Mann, junior Settavut Paradee, and junior transfer Aaron Terrazas.
“I know our guys are excited,” Lieberwirth said. “They’ve had this circled on their calendar since I let them know last year that we were going to this event. I think we can do okay, I really do. We just haven’t quite put anything together yet in a tournament.
“Air Force [Gene Miranda Invitational] we had some nice performances and in Albuquerque [William H. Tucker Intercollegiate] we had bits and pieces of solid play. We’re at a point where we need to kind of tie it all together and get everybody playing reasonably well at the same time.”
The Miners will compete in the field that includes four teams that played in the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship in Florida State, Iowa State, Ole Miss and Purdue, as well as Big East Champion and host of the tournament Marquette. Other participating teams include Augusta, Michigan State, Northern Illinois, reigning Intercollegiate champion Northwestern, South Florida, Texas A&M, UC Davis, UCLA, and Wisconsin.
Notables in the field include 2017 NCAA Champion Braden Thornberry of Ole Miss and Texas A&M’s Cameron Champ, who tied or 32nd at the US Open at Erin Hills in June. Florida State’s Harry Ellis is the reigning British Amateur Champion and participated in the 2017 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. Thornberry is ranked third in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR), Champ is ranked eighth and Ellis is 72nd. Texas A&M’s Chandler Phillips and Northwestern’s Dylan Wu also rank 55th and 82nd in the world’s top 100 amateurs, respectively.
“Every tournament we need to play well,” Lieberwirth said. “We need to start looking at positioning ourselves for the spring and trying to get our ranking in a spot where we can make it to the post season as an at-large as opposed to having to win our conference.
“We know we have to step up and play a little better than we have in the first couple of tournaments. The good thing is, this is only the third tournament of 11. We do have a little bit of time to rebound and bounce back. With the strength of this field, this is a great opportunity to go get some wins on some pretty high-ranked teams.”
Live scoring will be provided through Golfstat throughout the tournament. | LIVE STATS