Corner was the Miners’ top finisher in four of five spring tournaments, notched three top-five finishes, and constructed a 72.4 stroke average. His second-place showing at the Price’s “Give ‘Em Five” Invitational helped lift the Miners to a team crown. | Photo courtesy UTEP
Three Miners remained under par to help the UTEP men’s golf team to a 9-under 275 showing at the opening day of their own Price’s “Give ‘Em Five” Invitational on Friday at the Butterfield Trial Golf Club (par 71).
The Miners, who are the defending Price’s Invitational champions, lead the 13-team field, ahead of second-place Texas State by one stroke. Tee times for round two will begin at 8 a.m. tomorrow.
“All of our guys know that we can’t win a golf tournament on the first day, but we could severely hurt our chances if we don’t play well,” head coach Scott Lieberwirth said. “We played great today.”
Senior Charles Corner had himself a day at the opening round, firing a career-low 64 to share a spot for first place with Texas State’s Calvin Ross. Corner put together a string of four consecutive birdies, beginning on hole No. 12, for eight birdies total to lead the field and stay seven under par. The Cayuga, Ontario, Canada native bogeyed only once in his run.
Prescott Mann had back-to-back birdies to start his round and added four more to help his score of 2-under 69 and finish in a tie for ninth. The senior led the tournament in Par 3 scoring (2.75 avg./-1). Aaron Terrazas was one stroke behind his teammate after a steady opening round, tallying four birdies and three bogeys for a 1-under 70 performance. Terrazas ended his round on a high note, notching a birdie to finish his day with a share of 13th place.
“Charles shot the lowest round of his career, that was fantastic, it was really big for us,” Lieberwirth said. “We got a little bit of help from Prescott [Mann] and Aaron did fine too, so I’m very pleased with our performance today.”
Nicklas Pihl had four birdies in his 1-over 72 showing to tie for 26th, while Santiago Castilla rounded out the UTEP starters after shooting 3-over 74 and notching two birdies.
Among the Miners playing as individuals, Ricardo Catalan had a career-round, going low for a round of 67 and sharing a spot in third place. Catalan had five birdies, including consecutive ones on holes No. 11 and 12.
“Ricardo was fantastic, easily the best round in his college career as a freshman,” Lieberwirth said. “We’re pleased that, even though they’re individuals and they’re not actually counting toward our team score, we’re wanting them to perform well, too. To see Ricardo do that, he should get a lot of confidence and hopefully he takes that confidence and runs with it the next two days.”
Chad Ahn recorded the team’s only eagle on hole No. 2 to start his tournament off right. He finished with a birdie in his 3-over 74 performance, good for a share of 51st. Eduardo Gonzalez had three birdies in his round, finishing in a tie for 67th with 5-over 76. Settavut Paradee finished out the Miner run in his tie of 70th with a 6-over 77 performance.
As a team, the Miners’ total of 24 birdies ranked second in the field, while the team was first in Par 3 scoring (3.05 avg./+1), second in Par 4 scoring (4.00 avg./E) and second in Par 5 scoring (4.53 avg./-7).
Round two will begin tomorrow and the tournament will conclude on Sunday.
“We know tomorrow the conditions are going to be a little more challenging than today, so we have to be up to that challenge,” Lieberwirth said.
Spectators can watch the action at Butterfield Golf Trail for free, live stats are available at golfstat.com.