Simonsen leads Miners to fifth place finish at UTEP Invitational

Luis Barrio, Contributor

It was a bit of a bittersweet ending for the team as they finished fifth out of 15 teams. The New Mexico State Aggies were crowned as champions of the tournament ahead of Colorado, San Jose State, Kansas State and UTEP.

“I think we did make some progress in the fall,” said head coach Scott Lieberwirth. “All in all, things are headed in the right direction. I’m pleased that the guys aren’t just satisfied with finishing in fifth place.”

The UTEP men’s golf team hosted the second-annual Price’s Give ‘Em Five UTEP Collegiate Golf Invitational Oct. 25-26 at the Butterfield Trail Golf Club, which capped off the fall season for the team.

During the tournament, sophomore Martin Simonsen shined for the Miners when he received his first career individual championship, firing a 12-under-par 204 to preside over the 88-player field.

The men’s golf team made strong showings in its spring season with two second-place finishes in its first three tournaments.

“The team looks pretty good this year. We’ve had some good results and I think we did well this tournament,” said freshman Frederik Dreier.

Dreier had a strong showing as a freshman this year with a second-place debut for the Miners in their opening tournament this season at the Gene Miranda Falcon Invitational which took place Sept. 9 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Dreier had a pair of second-place finishes this season and he credits his coach for his success.

“Coach (Lieberwirth) has had a big part in it and he’s always believed in me,” Dreier said. “I’m just trying to do my best every time.”

Coming into the tournament the Miners hosted, there were some positive and negative aspects to the home-course advantage.

“There is a lot of pressure on us because the people from El Paso think we’re going to win this tournament,” Dreier said.  “Of course there is the advantage because we know this course. I think all the guys know what to do here, so I think we’ll have a good tournament.”

This was the only tournament the Miners played at home this season. Players, such as Mexican native Jose Manuel Romero, said the team has progressed and will get better for the spring.

“Our strong season is the spring,” Romero said. “We have seven tournaments and also regionals and nationals if we make it that far. Our goal as a team is to make it to nationals.”

The Miners will not see action again until they participate in the Arizona Intercollegiate tournament Jan. 27-28 in Tucson, Ariz.

Luis Barrio may be reached at [email protected]