|Monday, March 20, 2000||
Volume 65, Issue 114
|Coogs look for more
success in 2000
By Jason Caesar Consolacion
With three consecutive Conference USA championships, three consecutive top 10 NCAA championship finishes and a No. 7 preseason national ranking, the UH golf team has set high standards for this season.
Head coach Mike Dirks welcomes back the nucleus that made last year's team so successful.
Senior Chris Morris is one of three UH seniors returning to the 2000 golf team. His lowest score was a 68 at the Carpet Capital Classic in the Fall.
"This year's team will be ranked among the top 10 in all preseason polls," Dirks said. "My feeling is that we're a top-five team with the talent we have coming back."
Second team All-American and first team All-Conference USA junior Andy Sanders leads the way for Houston. His 72.5 average led the Cougars last season. He also recorded two first-place finishes last season, one at the C-USA Championships in Navarre, Fla., and the other at The Maxell tournament in Ardmore, Okla.
Seniors Chris Morris and B.J. Staten also return for Dirks' squad. Last year, Morris was right behind Sanders, averaging a 74.4. His best finish was recorded in Dallas at the Red River Classic as he shot 207, including a second-round 68, to tie for seventh.
Staten averaged a feisty 73.7 last season and shot an amazing second-round 65 at the Red River Classic. He tied for second in the C-USA Championships, which featured an opening-round 68.
C-USA's 1999 Freshman of the Year Wade Ormsby, who averaged an impressive 74 as a true freshman last season, also makes his way back. He finished in fifth place twice last season, once at the C-USA Championships and the other in a fifth-place tie at the NCAA Central Regional.
"We have Andy Sanders and three nationally ranked players in Chris Morris, B.J. Staten and Wade Ormsby," Dirks said. "We have a strong nucleus of experienced players. With the kind of schedule we play this season, facing the best teams from week to week, it won't take long to see where we stand compared to the nation's elite teams."
Senior James Edmondson, who has not competed since 1998, rounds up the returnees.
The Cougars have already completed nearly half of their schedule. In September, the team finished seventh in the Ping-Golfweek Preview, a tournament that featured 18 of the top schools in the nation.
In October, the Cougars tallied a fourth-place finish at the Carpet Capital Classic. UH was paced by Morris' three-under-par 69, the fourth-best individual round of the day at the 6,906-yard par-72 course.
Houston returned to Dallas for the Red River Classic on Oct. 11, finishing third behind Oklahoma State and South Carolina (Nos. 1 and 2, respectively).
The very next week, the Cougars traveled to Birmingham, Ala., to participate in the Jerry Pate National. Sanders shot an impeccable 64 en route to UH's fourth-place finish.
In November, UH finished an un-Cougar-like 14th at the Golf World Intercollegiate tournament in Hilton Head, S.C. The Cougars were five shots under par for the three days of the tournament, but they were a full 22 shots behind tournament champion Georgia.
Finally, last week the Cougars were in Las Vegas, Nev., to participate in the Las Vegas Intercollegiate tournament. Unfortunately, another subpar performance by Sanders (72-70-70 -- 212) wasn't enough to help Houston finish better than eighth.
However, the eighth-place finish isn't so bad, considering the tournament featured the best schools in the nation. Staten provided Houston with a lift, shooting 71 in the second and third rounds to finish with a 217. The Cougars tallied a three-round total of 868 (291-287-290), 20 behind tournament champion Arizona State (285-281-282 - 848).
So far, Staten leads the Cougars with a 70.8 stroke average. His lowest 18 this season is a 65, and he tied for fifth at the Red River Classic.
Morris is averaging a 71.2. His lowest 18 so far is a 68, and he tied for fifth in the Carpet Capitol Classic in Dalton, Ga. Sanders averages a 71.4 and shot a team-low 63 earlier this season. He tied for second at the Jerry Pate National.
The team that includes Staten, Morris, Sanders, Ormsby, Edmondson and newcomers Brett Callas and Jaime Geilenkirchen (who was redshirted last season) is averaging a 284.5 strokes, collectively, in five tournaments.
The newcomers have made quite an impression on Dirks.
"We've added two new players in Brett Callas and Kevin Hermis," he said. "This year, Kevin will redshirt and Brett should see a lot of action. Both are really talented young players."
This week, the No. 9-ranked Cougars will travel to Austin for the Morris Williams tournament at Austin Country Club. The tournament starts today and will conclude on Tuesday.
Houston won't take the course again until April 7 when the Cougars travel
south of the border to Los Cabos, Mexico, to participate in the U.S. Collegiate
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