SAN ANTONIO — The UTSA men’s golf team will open its 2013-14 campaign at the 11th annual Sam H. Hall Intercollegiate on Monday-Tuesday, Sept. 9-10, at Hattiesburg Country Club (par 71/6,882 yards) in Hattiesburg, Miss.
The Roadrunners will compete against teams from Arkansas State, Houston Baptist, Jackson State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Mercer, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Rice, Sam Houston State, South Alabama, Southeastern Louisiana, Southern Miss and Texas Tech.
The two-day tournament tees off with 36 holes beginning with an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start on Monday, followed by 18 holes with tee times starting at 8 a.m. on Tuesday.
The event is named for former Southern Miss golfer and coach, Sam Hall, who lettered at the school from 1955 to 1958, and later coached the program on two separate occasions. His last stint as head coach was a 10-year run from 1990-2000. Hall has distinguished himself on the golf course as a player by winning more than 300 golf tournaments as an amateur.
Sixth-year head coach John Knauer welcomes back five letterwinners from last year’s squad that posted eight top-10 finishes, including a team title at the Rice Intercollegiate. Headlining that list is senior Ryan Werre, who led the Roadrunners with a 74.06 stroke average and three top 10s.
What: Sam Hall Intercollegiate
When: Monday, Sept. 8 — Tuesday, Sept. 10
Where: Hattiesburg (Miss.) Country Club — par 71 · 6,882 yards
Format: Two-day, 54-hole event (36 holes, 8:30 a.m. shotgun start on Monday/18 holes, 8 a.m. tee times on Tuesday)
Tournament Field: Arkansas State, Houston Baptist, Jackson State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Mercer, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Rice, Sam Houston State, South Alabama, Southeastern Louisiana, Southern Mississippi, UTSA, Texas Tech
Live Scoring: golfstat.com
2012 Team Champion: Mississippi
2012 Individual Champion: Victor Lange, Louisiana Tech
Bryce Alley, Fr. (Longview, Texas)
· Placed second at the 2012 Junior PGA Championship North Qualifier
· Finished third with a five-under-par 66 at the 2012 HP Byron Nelson Junior Championship
· Named 2012 Legends Junior Tour Boys 15-18 Division Player of the Year
Brett Hogan, So. (Calgary, Alberta)
· Ranked second on team with a 74.64 stroke average in 2012-13
· Tied for second with a five-under 68-74-69—211 at the 2013 Rice Intercollegiate
· Finished 15th with a 72-72-72—216 at the 2013 Bayou City Collegiate Championship
Garrison Lackey, Jr. (Weslaco, Texas)
· Recorded a 74.93 stroke average in 2012-13
· Tied for fifth with a 70-79-74—223 at the 2013 WAC Championship
· Tied for 10th with a 70-74-72—216 at the UTSA Oak Hills Invitational
J.J. Lindsey, So. (Adkins, Texas)
· Posted a 75.10 stroke average in 2012-13
· Recorded three top-10 finishes as a freshman
· Tied for fifth with a 69-76-78—223 at the 2013 WAC Championship
· Tied for seventh with a 73-77-72—222 at the 2013 Jim West Intercollegiate
Ryan Werre, Sr. (Redcliff, Alberta)
· Led UTSA with a 74.06 stroke average in 2012-13
· Recorded three top-10 finishes as a junior
· Tied for third with a two-under 69-69-73—211 at the 2013 UTSA Oak Hills Invitational
2013 Season Preview
Head coach John Knauer is back for his sixth season leading the Roadrunners. He recently sat down with goUTSA.com to give a season preview on his team.
Can you give us a breakdown of your roster heading into the fall season?
“We have five returnees from last year’s team in Ryan Werre, Garrison Lackey, Brett Hogan, Reed Stegall and J.J. Lindsey who all have gotten better over the summer. I’m excited about our two freshmen, Bryce Alley and Kyle Francis. Bryce made our top five for the first tournament, and as a matter of fact he finished second in our qualifying, so he’s off to the races right out of the gates. I look for us to be pretty solid this year. It’s an exciting time for our program.”
How do you view this year’s schedule?
“We are excited about our schedule, because we’ve really upgraded it. We are playing 10 top-10 teams and 20 top-25 teams. Anytime you get to put your kids up against the likes of Alabama and Texas — those types of programs — you can really see what you’re made of. Win or lose, it’s always a positive to play in those types of tournaments.”
Does your approach to the fall season differ any from the spring?
“Just like football where coaches talk about getting better from week one to week two and so on, the same thing happens in golf. How you play in that first tournament, even if you play great, you’re still looking to get better at every single tournament. To us, the first tournament in the fall is just as important as the last tournament in the spring. You want to be playing your very best golf at the end of the spring when the conference tournament and postseason rolls around. It’s a long enough season to where you can have a hiccup and still be okay. We’re always looking to get off to a hot start, but we’re mainly looking at the areas where we can get better in the fall and early spring, so that when the end of the season comes we are playing our best golf.”
What has your lone senior, Ryan Werre, meant to this program?
“Ryan was in our second recruiting class, but he was the first guy we were able to recruit for an entire year. It’s a program-changer when you get a guy like Ryan who wants to take his game to the next level. He has earned numerous honors throughout his career and they are all well deserved. He works very hard at his game and that’s put him in a position to where he has a chance to break some school records. When we signed him, we wanted to start to change the culture here. From his class through this newest class, we’ve gotten better not only on the course, but off the course, as well.”
What are you looking for out of your other returning players?
“Obviously, they are the core of our team. Our goal is to have what you consider a young team. You don’t want to have five seniors on your roster so that when they graduate it takes you three years to get back to where you were. We’ve worked hard to get ourselves into this position now where we have some balance of classes in our lineup. We always want to recruit better players with each passing year, and we’ve been able to bring in the type of player who can step into our top five in his first season. These guys all played in most of our tournaments last year and that experience is going to be huge for us this year. We’re excited about how much better they got throughout last season and over the summer, and we expect the fruits of their labors to show up on the course this year.”
What do you expect to see out of your team with the move to Conference USA?
“It won’t change our schedule, but the conference tournament is a whole different ball of wax. We experienced that last year with the move from the Southland — which had very good golf — to the WAC. Conference USA had five teams advance to nationals last year. Some of those moved into the American Athletic Conference, but some are still remaining. I think the league will be very good from top to bottom. Off the top of my head, Tulane, UAB, Charlotte and North Texas will be really good. It’s going to be great to mix it up with them. We’re excited about the challenges and competition this new conference will bring.”
What does it mean to the program to serve as the host for the 2014 NCAA San Antonio Regional at Briggs Ranch Golf Club, your home course?
“We are very elated. It’s a fantastic opportunity for our program, our university and the city of San Antonio to be able to host not only the men’s regional this season, but the women’s next season. To be able to get the nod from the NCAA to host this event reflects well on all three facets. It’s an unbelievable recruiting tool for our program, it’s a competitive advantage for our team if we earn a spot in the field and it proves that we are up there with the big boys in college golf.”