IRVING, Texas – The University of Dallas men's golf team tees off Monday in the John Bohmann Memorial Invitational down at Starcke Park in Seguin, Texas. Head Coach Garrett Smith is optimistic about the strides the program made in 2016-17, and believes the foundation for more productive results are on the horizon.
"We have a really good group of guys this year," Coach Smith stated. "We are returning four players and have five incoming freshmen. I am very excited for this talented freshman group to get in and introduce a bit deeper competition within the program."
Forming the quartet of returners are: Thomas Schuberg (Camarillo, Calif.), Jacob Wade (Magnolia, Texas), Matthew Nickel (Wichita, Kan.), and Erik Hamm (Brentwood, Tenn.). They all played in every tournament last season and were part of a team that set a few school records. Some of these milestones included the Low Round (set twice) of a 308 at University of Mary Hardin-Baylor on October 11, 2016, and Low Two Rounds score of 629 at Louisiana College Fall Invite on September 19-20. The team set a Low Average for the entire 2016-17 season with a 320.8-clip in 20 rounds.
While Smith was encouraged by breaking a couple records, he is expecting more improvements from the team on the links this season.
"Last year we had talent and showed promise, but we lacked the depth that it takes to really take the next step forward," Coach Smith explained. "This year I believe that we have that and except big things this year. There is no reason why this team can't continue to break records that were broken last year and take this program somewhere UD Golf has yet to see."
The Crusaders had three team victories and two different individuals win a combined three individual tournaments. Schuberg won the first two Hendrix College Duals in that trio of triumphs. He also garnered three Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Golfer of the Week accolades. Hamm had the other individual victory and carried that momentum with UD's lowest score in the conference tournament (73) to help secure an all-conference honor. Hamm is studying in Rome this fall, so the Crusaders will be without him until the spring season starts in 2018.
There are five freshmen that are vying for playing time this fall. Robert Bross (Wentzville, Mo.), Will Doctor (Houston, Texas), Robby Evans (Flower Mound, Texas), Seth McNeill (Plano, Texas), and Emilio Montalvo (Mexico City, Mexico) form that group.
"Regardless of what our lineup will be from tournament to tournament, we will be competing with five guys that have the capability to shoot under par any given day," Coach Smith praised. "That is very exciting because I think we have a chance to shoot some really low scores this year."
Learn more about each golfer that will be out there this fall below:
- Thomas Schuberg
- Career Low Round Score: 72 (Nov. 1, 2016 at The Classic at the Tribute)
- Coach Smith's Thoughts: "Tommy has been our catalyst the past two years, earning team MVP each of those years. Tommy is a gamer and always grinds out there. Regardless if he has his best stuff or not, he seems to always be able to post a good score. That is a trait that is hard to coach because you either have it or you don't. Given that he has made significant improvements each of the past two years, I see him taking another step forward this year."
- Jacob Wade
- Career Low Round Score: 76 (3 times – 1st round of Hal Sutton Intercollegiate, Hendrix College Dual #4, and UMHB Fall Invitational)
- Coach Smith's Thoughts: "Jake Wade, is another guy that I see making a big leap forward this year. He had a very good summer in outside events. With several under par rounds. Now that he has a year under his belt, and knows what it takes day in and day out to be successful I expect that he will have a breakout season. He has the talent to not only be one of our best players but one of the best in the conference."
- Matthew Nickel
- Career Low Round Score: 77 (Nov. 1, 2016 at The Classic at the Tribute)
- Coach Smith's Thoughts: "Matt is a leader on this team, regardless of whether or not he sees himself that way or not. He is very laid back, and quick with a joke to break the tension during a rough time. I think the guys take after that a bit, and have perspective. It is very easy to think it's the end of the world, after shooting a bad score. But you will never see Matt with that attitude. Instead he approaches it with a willingness to get better and maybe more importantly learn. Matt has a lot of talent, and I hope we can unlock all of his potential this year. He is a great ball striker that has the capacity to shoot some good numbers and really contribute as a Crusader."
- Will Doctor
- Coach Smith's Thoughts: "Will is a fantastic young man, with a lot of energy. He has competed in a number of prestigious junior tournaments, and he brings that experience to the roster right away. He is a quick learner, and able to make adjustments rather quickly. Every part of his game is solid, and I expect him to be a repeat contributor to this team this season."
- Robby Evans
- Coach Smith's Thoughts: "Like Will, Robby, has played quite a bit of prestigious junior tournaments. Competing in a number of AJGA events over the course of the last couple of years. He had a great summer, winning the Texas Oklahoma Junior Golf Tournament, which typically has a very strong field of players from all over the country. Robby is rock solid all the way through the bag. He doesn't really have any weaknesses, which like in any sport, is a very good thing. Expect him to shoot some low numbers this fall."
- Seth McNeill
- Coach Smith's Thoughts: "Seth is a local guy, like Robby, who is very familiar with the types of golf courses that we will be playing this fall. He is very solid tee to green, and keeps the ball out of trouble. When you give yourself as many chances as he does and avoid big numbers, success will come your way. I believe that he will be someone we can count on to shoot a solid score, and can make this team better week in and week out."
- Emilio Montalvo
- Coach Smith's Thoughts: "Emilio, is another guy that will contribute right away. He has a very fundamentally sound golf swing, and a great demeanor. He hits the ball very well, and is a great putter. He is another guy that has the talent to shoot under par any given day, and we expect big things out of him this year."
- Robert Bross
- Coach Smith's Thoughts: "Bobby is a former hockey player. He has a great demeanor and has already shown a lot of competitiveness. It will be a change for him getting away from hockey. But with the type of hard work and determination that he has already shown, he will be a key contributor for this team both this year and years to come."
Dallas has four tournaments and a pair of Hendrix Duals on the docket this fall. Coach Smith is looking forward to all of them.
"I think that we have a schedule set to where the level of competition will be quite high," Coach Smith reflected. "Both at UT Tyler's event and UMHB's event the field should be stacked, as we will be competing against some of the best schools from across the country. I am excited to see where we stack up among them."
The Crusaders first tournament of the year is hosted by fellow SCAC school Texas Lutheran University. This portion of the season concludes with Trinity University hosting the Alamo City Classic October 16th-17th. Coach Smith believes UD will see other conference teams on the courses at some point this fall.
"I am particularly drawn to the TLU evet to start our year out, and the Trinity event in which we close our fall season with," Coach Smith concluded. "These tournaments should have a number of our conference schools competing, if not all. So it gives a chance to see where we stand against them early on."