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Arizona Intercollegiate opens spring season

Juniors+Martin+Simonsen+and+Jacob+Loya+will+likely+make+the+five+man+squad+for+the+Arizona+Intercollegiate%2C+which+takes+.place+Jan.+27-28.
Luis Barrio
Juniors Martin Simonsen and Jacob Loya will likely make the five man squad for the Arizona Intercollegiate, which takes .place Jan. 27-28.

With the second half of the season approaching, the UTEP men’s golf team is preparing for the Arizona Intercollegiate tournament to be held Jan. 27 and 28 in Tucson, Ariz.

This is the first year the tournament will be held at the Sewailo Golf Club. The University of Arizona will be hosting the tournament.

Teams such as the New Mexico Lobos, California Bears, Southern California Trojans and Oregon State Beavers will participate. The 7,400-yard layout will prove a good test since it’s only been open for a couple of months.

The men’s team began practice on Jan. 17 and began qualifying for the upcoming tournament. The team will travel with five players to score. The final five will be determined late on Jan. 21 once qualifying is completed.

“This Saturday we are heading off to Arizona. It’s going to be really good field out there, there are a lot of very good teams,” said head coach Scott Lieberwirth. “We are going to have to spend this week working hard and cleaning some areas.”

One of the players that Lieberwirth is confident will make the trip is junior Martin Simonsen. The last time the Miners participated in a competition was when they hosted the Price’s “Give ‘Em Five” Invitational at Butterfield Golf Course last October, in which Simonsen won as an individual. The team finished fifth out of 15 teams.

“That was a great win for him. He’s been knocking on the door a few times to get an individual win, he just played fantastic,” Lieberwirth said. “Right now he’s playing the best of anybody on the team now. As long as he gets his putter to cooperate, I really expect him to be in the mix to win quite a few tournaments this spring.”

Simonsen said that his win in October motivates him to keep working hard and keep getting better.

“It was nice to finally get a win. I’ve been working at it for quite a while and I had a lot of good chances at winning before and finally getting one in our own tournament was cool,” Simonsen said. “I feel like I’m hitting the ball pretty well right now so if I manage to get the putter going  it might be another victory.”

Putting and a player’s short game is what wins tournaments. Being able to make the crucial five-footer for par or birdie opportunity is where the game is won.

Graduate from Cathedral High School, junior Jacob Loya was one of the players who put himself in good position to make the five-man roster.

“Qualifying is used to see where everyone’s games are at the moment, especially now after the winter break,” Loya said. “Some things I like to keep in mind during qualifying is to treat it like a tournament. You don’t want to be treating qualifying like any other round because when you go to the tournament, it’s hard to switch mindsets from just playing with your teammates to playing a tournament.”

Lieberwirth said that the team has a lot of potential and has high hopes not only for what they can achieve in the Arizona Intercollegiate but also in the spring season.

“Ultimately if we play well this spring, it’s to get to the NCAA Nationals first, at least to get us into the regional tournament,” Lieberwirth said. “We have to approach every tournament as an opportunity. The first one back is always a challenging one. We have the talent; we just have to be consistent enough to do it regularly.”

The two-day tournament will be crucial to get the team into rhythm after the long winter break and to be better prepared better for the following tournaments in February such as the UTSA Oak Hills Invitational and the John Burns Intercollegiate in Hawaii.

“I expect myself to improve in all aspects of the game, but most importantly being a better asset for my team,” Loya said. “I expect my team to do the same and not give up as well when it gets tough and I won’t give up on them as well.”

Luis Barrio may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Luis Barrio, Staff Reporter
Luis Barrio is a staff reporter specializing in Sports. He is also the co-host of the Prospector News Weekly, a weekly broadcast that covers all of the top stories at UTEP. He is a Senior graduating in December 2014. Luis is a product of El Paso, TX. He enjoys being outdoors and being physically active. His family comes before anything else. He is a big sports enthusiast and a fan of good movies. Luis spent the summer of 2013 interning for ABC-7 KVIA. Upon graduation Luis aspires to work for CBS as a sports broadcaster. “I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever a having felt sorry for itself.” D.H. Lawrence
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Arizona Intercollegiate opens spring season