SAN ANTONIO (Sept. 6, 2019) – The Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) men's golf team will begin its 12th season on Sept. 8 at the Texas Intercollegiate at Hawks Creek Golf Club in Fort Worth, Texas.
At the helm for the Saints is Interim Head Coach Arnie Martinez, who spent the previous six seasons as assistant coach. Martinez was also part of OLLU's inaugural men's golf team in 2008, and he played through 2010.
"We have our season opener on Sept 8-10 at Texas Wesleyan's event, where we will be competing against a very strong field," Martinez commented. "We will find out real quick where we stand among some of the best teams in the nation."
In last year's Texas Intercollegiate, the Saints finished in fourth place, while 2018-2019 senior Steve Landry finished in second place.
Next up for the Saints is the Fall Invitational hosted by the University of Houston-Victoria in Victoria, Texas. The event takes place Sept. 22-24. Last season, the Saints were the runners-up in the tournament, while Kane Ybarra (SR/San Antonio, Texas) finished in a tie for third place.
From Oct. 20-22, the team will be in Kohler, Wisc., for the Whistling Straits Invitational. This marks the first time OLLU has participated in the tournament.
The Saints will co-host the College Golf Classic with Schreiner University Oct. 27-29 at the Republic Golf Club. Last season, the Saints were the runners-up, while Landry came in third place. This will conclude the team's fall season.
The team opens the 2020 spring schedule at the Claud Jacobs Invitational, sponsored by the University of Houston-Victoria Feb. 15-17. The Saints had a disappointing fifth-place finish in last year's event.
From Feb. 23-25, the Saints co-host the San Antonio Shootout with Schreiner University at TPC San Antonio Oaks and Canyon Courses. Last year's contest had the Saints finishing in seventh place.
The team's last tournament will be the Big Texan Invitational in Kerrville, Texas, and hosted by the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley March 24-26. In 2019, the Saints finished in ninth place.
The Saints will then prepare for the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (A.I.I.)/Red River Athletic Conference Tournament that will take place in April. The Saints captured conference title the previous three seasons, propelling them to a berth in the NAIA National Championship Tournament. The Saints have earned spots in the national tournament from 2010 through 2013 and 2017-2019.
Success in the classroom
Martinez said, "Our goal this year, like every year, is to win our conference and compete for a national title both on the course and in the classroom. We are very proud of our players' ability, year in and year out, to find success with their golf scores and their GPA. Hard work and discipline are vital in finding success this year, and our guys understand the sacrifices which must be made in order to succeed. For that, I am excited to see what the year brings. GO OLLU!"
The Saints have been one of the most academically successful teams at OLLU. They have won four consecutive NAIA Scholar Team awards.
Returning for the Saints this year is four-year senior Kane Ybarra, along with sophomores Joshua Sturt (SO/Portsmouth, U.K.), Daniel Jones (SO/Comfort, Texas) and Raul Gutierrez (SO/San Antonio, Texas). "Kane will be leading the way, and he along with the three sophomores, will provide some experience from last year."
Martinez is excited about his new players this year. They include Diego Garcia (SO/Guadalajara, Mexico), Massimo Garcia (FR/Laredo, Texas) and Diego Ibarra (FR/Eagle Pass, Texas). Diego Garcia was his school's Athlete of the Year in 2015. He also attended West Texas A&M University. Massimo Garcia qualified and played at the Texas Cup Invitational and the Bluebonnet Championship. He tied for first place at the Tapatio Two Step in Boerne, Texas, and as a result, he played at the Ben Hogan Cup Invitational in Fort Worth, Texas. Ibarra was his school's Golf MVP all four years. He was also the district champion, a four-time regional qualifier and a 2018 state qualifier.
Top players lost
The Saints bid farewell to seniors Steve Landry and Louis Flynn, as well as standout Zhao Yang Gu this year.
"With us losing three of our top five players from last year, this year's squad will have some big shoes to fill, but I know they are up to the challenge."