33rd ranked men’s golf rides consistency to fifth place finish

Ryder Martin, Sports Editor

The UTSA men’s golf team competed in the 54-hole Bayou City Collegiate Classic in Houston, from Monday, April 6, through Tuesday, April 7. The tournament played host to three nationally-ranked teams, with the Roadrunners as the highest-ranked at 26th in the country. Also entered in the tournament were 42nd ranked Arkansas State University and 49th ranked University of Houston. Thanks to a consistent effort over the two-day event from their five-man roster, UTSA comfortably finished the tournament with a fifth-place finish.

The action got started in the morning and the ‘Runners got off to a very strong start. An opening round 280 for the ‘Runners saw them in a tie for third with Sam Houston State. Hunter Bott sat as the highest placed Roadrunner closing the first round of action in a tie for fifth, three shots back of the lead, after carding an opening-round three under par 69. Sitting just one stroke behind him in a tie for 12th was the duo of Collin Clark and Chad Sewell. Sitting a stroke behind them was Christian Fanfelle, who finished the round with a one under par 71. Bringing up the rear for the Roadrunners was Michael Rome, who started his tournament off with a two over par 74. 

Round two during the afternoon session, however, proved to be trouble for the ‘Runners. An uneven round saw them shoot a 294 as a team and slip into sole possession of fifth place at two under par for the tournament, 18 strokes behind round two leader Sam Houston State. Bott continued to lead the way for the ‘Runners in a tie for 17th following a two over par 74 with Clark a stroke behind him after a 74 of his own. Rome surged up the leaderboards while most of his teammates slid back, climbing into a tie for 36th after a one under par 71. Rounding out the second round for the ‘Runners, Fanfelle and Sewell endured rough rounds carding a three over par 75 and four over par 76 to bring them into a tie for 41st. 

After enduring a rough second round, however, UTSA finished strong on Tuesday and delivered the second lowest score of the day to solidify their fifth place finish. Bott closed out his strong tournament with a one under par 71 to secure the best finish of his career in a tie for 16th, finishing at two under par 216. Joining him in that tie for 16th was Fanfelle, who came roaring back on Tuesday with a four under par 68 off the back of eight birdies during the round. Clark, a previous winner of this event back in 2019, finished a stroke behind his teammates in a tie for 22nd at one under par 216. Continuing the theme of strong bounce back rounds, Sewell recovered from the previous round’s 76 to card a two under par 70, finishing at an even par 216 for the tournament in a tie for 27th.  Michael Rome’s even par 72 in round three saw him climb two spots on the leaderboard, finishing the tournament at one over par in a tie for 34th. 

Overall, UTSA finished the tournament in fifth place with a final score of 854, 10 under par. This put them 19 strokes behind tournament champions Sam Houston State, who were strong the entire tournament. Looking at overall trends for the tournament, UTSA gained most of their advantages on the par fives, where they finished the tournament at 27 under par. This strength was also demonstrated by the fact that UTSA carded the third most eagles for the tournament with three. The ‘Runners’ performance in the tournament saw them slide seven spots in the national rankings to 33th. 

The team will now face a quick turnaround time as their next tournament runs from Friday, April 9, through Sunday, April 11, at the Aggie Invitational. The ‘Runners will face off against a stacked field including No.1 Oklahoma and seven other teams in the national top 50.