Monroe, La. – The ULM men’s golf team is set to open its 2017 spring schedule after a successful fall campaign that saw the Warhawks win a pair of tournaments. The Warhawks will open their 2017 campaign at the Atchafalaya Intercollegiate, set to tee off on February 20 with the Warhawks the tournaments' defending champions.
The Warhawks highlighted their fall season with a pair of wins in both the Sam Hall Intercollegiate and the Jim Rivers Intercollegiate. As a team, the Warhawks had three different players earn the honor of low player for the tournament as Hogan Arey was the only player to do it twice (Jim Rivers and the Duck Commander Intercollegiate). Andoni Etchenique led the Warhawks at the Sam Hall Intercollegiate, while Thibault Santigny led the team at the David Toms Intercollegiate.
“What I learned about our team from the fall is that we are talented but also extremely young, so we are going to have a learning curve to get through,” commented head coach Tim Baldwin.
The Warhawks had balanced scoring fall, featuring four players who averaged rounds between 73 and 74, led by Arey. Arey had a trio of top 10 finishes, including a runner-up finish in the Duck Commander Intercollegiate. Thibault Santigny followed closely behind Arey’s scoring, growing progressively better before capping the fall with a tied for fourth finish in the Duck Commander.
Joao Girao had a pair of top 20 finishes, including a tie for 14th to close out the fall in the Duck Commander Intercollegiate. He highlighted his fall with a score of 67 in the second round of the Sam Hall Intercollegiate. Andoni Etchenique came out of the gates red-hot, in finishing in a tie for third in the Warhawks' first victory of the season at the Sam Hall Intercollegiate and continued his steady play throughout the fall.
“The depth is key for us. I have been coaching long enough to realize you have to be six to eight guys deep," Baldwin said about his team. "We are going to have a lot of competition when it comes to getting in the five-man lineup, but I think that is going to be good because that shows these guys that you cannot take a day off."
The Warhawks feature a challenging schedule this spring, beginning on February 20 when they open play at the Atchafalaya Intercollegiate. They enter as the defending champions after winning last season's rain-shortened event. The Warhawks will then play in the Colin Montgomerie/Houston Baptist tournament to close out February in Houston. Two tournaments are on the schedule in the month of March, beginnig with the Border Olympics in Laredo, Texas and followed by the Little Rock/First Tee Intercollegiate in Little Rock, Ark.
The Warhawks close the regular season with two signature tournaments, beginning on April 3 when they travel to compete in the Chambers Bay Invitational in Seattle. ULM and the rest of the field will play on the same course which hosted the 2015 United States Open, won by Jordan Spieth.
"This is a huge thrill for our guys as being able to play in a venue this beautiful and that has hosted one of golf’s premier events," Baldwin said of the Chambers Bay event. "It will definitely be a highlight of our spring season. We close the year arguably with the two most competitive fields in Chambers Bay and Gary Koch events so if we can close playing well in those two in particular then that is only positive heading into the conference championship."
The team closes the regular season against another strong field in the Gary Koch Invitational before traveling to the Sun Belt Championships in San Destin, Florida in late April. Baldwin has challenged his players not only to compete in the Sun Belt tournament, but to look deeper into the postseason.
“I presented a scenario to the players that the goal is to get in the Top 65 in the country and earn a national at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. If we don’t do that and just miss that mark we obviously would have played some good golf and should be able to compete for a Sun Belt title, which could be another way to get in to the tournament."