Junior Leaders Hope To Bring Trophy Back To Denton
UNT Enters C-USA Championship As Favorites
DENTON – Ian Snyman and Thomas Rosenmueller arrived in Denton from South Africa and Germany, respectively, on the heels of the UNT men’s golf team winning its 30th conference championship in program history.
The two decorated juniors had their eyes set on duplicating that success once they entered the program, but for various reasons and despite NCAA tournament berths, the conference title has eluded them.
Now, they’re the experienced vets on the roster, and they’re looking to bring back what they think is rightfully theirs.
“Our main goal this week is to get a ring and get the winning history of before I got here going again,” Rosenmueller said.
On paper, there is no reason that shouldn’t happen.
UNT is the highest ranked team in the 13-team field that will begin play today with the first of three 18-hole rounds over the first three days of play at Texarkana Country Club in Texarkana, Arkansas. On Wednesday, after 54 holes have left four teams standing, those four squads will compete in a match-play tournament to determine the conference champion.
“The team is confident and ready to play in the Conference USA Championship,” UNT coach Brad Stracke said. “This team has more depth than any of my previous teams at UNT. The guys have been focused in practice, and I know they are ready to compete.
“Having five players with the capabilities of winning individually gives you a lot of confidence going into conference,” he added.
The depth Stracke speaks of is what makes the Mean Green the favorite to the win the four-day event. The team of Snyman, Rosenmueller, Jordan Sanders, Viktor Forslund and Vitek Novak already has one tournament championship under its belt this spring after winning the Spring Break Challenge in Irving – a field that featured a couple of C-USA foes, including Rice, which UNT rallied from behind to beat on the final day of that event.
Snyman has been the team’s best player all year, and is ranked No. 62 in the country, making him the only player in the tournament ranked in the top 100 individually. His scoring average for the 2017-18 season is 71.69, but his average for the spring is 70.93 over five tournaments. Among the other four, the highest scoring average is Novak’s 75.91 over his eight tournaments this year.
“Vitek and Viktor – both of our freshmen -- they’ve both been playing well,” Snyman said. “It’s just a matter of time before the whole team clicks together. I have high hopes for this tournament. We’ve had a lot of tournaments where we have two or three guys play well, but I’m just waiting for that time when we all click. I’m hoping it’ll be at conference, and then regionals and then all the way through to NCAA finals.”
Snyman echoed his coach’s sentiments on his team’s unusual depth.
“We have some depth on our team, which is massive,” Snyman said. “We have five guys on the team that can all win the individual spot. That means a lot. I don’t think the other teams can say the same.”
Snyman and Rosenmueller both said they expect their main competition to come from Middle Tennessee, UAB and UTEP, while Rice, who almost clipped UNT in Irving, could be a dark horse.
But there’s no question the Mean Green are the favorites.
Just ask Snyman.
“We’re the favorites, and we have to go out there and show them how it’s done,” he said. “We played better than everyone else the whole year. We just have to believe that and go finish the job.”