Fall Season Preview: Men’s Golf
EDINBURG – For the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley men’s golf team, the fall season brings a chance to start new with a clean slate.
“I am ready and I think the student-athletes are ready,” Vaqueros head coach Philip Tate said. “It gives us a chance to wipe the slate clean. For them, it is a chance to build new traditions, to raise expectations and to set a new precedence for men’s golf here at UTRGV.”
Coach Tate also gets the chance to start a new chapter in his career as he starts his first year with the program. He has had a few practices with his team and he is excited to get the season started.
“It is an incredible and exciting opportunity to start my Division I coaching career,” Tate said. “I am really pleased with the squad that I have and I think we can do well. So let’s tee it up and go.”
After a couple of rounds of qualifying, coach Tate sees the potential that his team has. They worked hard all summer long as they played in tournaments all around the world and it is fair to say that the expectations for the team have been raised.
“I want us to move up in the rankings, especially after what I have seen as far as the talent that we have on the team,” Tate said. “I think we should be able to move up in the rankings and I really want to establish some confidence in some of the guys. Having seen what we have I would like to have them rolling into the spring believing and knowing that they are good enough to win the WAC.”
Like any new team in any sport, team chemistry is important. Coach Tate wants to use the fall semester to get them to start to gel and for them to get accustomed to their coach.
As he enters his first season with his new team, coach Tate has to take a different approach to get that team chemistry.
“Having them bond is very important,” Tate said. “We have been doing a lot of different things together off the golf course to work on team building. At practice we have been doing competitions so that they don’t get separated from each other. I think the key is to build team unity. I want to get them started on the right foot and come together to work hard.”
Sophomore Nicolas Platret, the reigning WAC Champion, returns for his sophomore season. He is looking to build on his impressive freshman year after leading the team in 11 of 12 tournaments.
With a year under his belt, Platret will be looked up to be a leader for the Vaqueros, which is something coach Tate thinks he is very much capable of.
“He is not only a good player but what I have been most impressed with is that he is a leader,” Tate said. “That is a skill that can’t be taught. You are either born to be a leader or not and he has it. He takes the whole team by the collar and tells them what needs to be done. You can definitely sense that what he says matters to the team. He does a good job of leading, which we need.”
The Vaqueros also bring back seniors Peter Fox, Ricky Solis and Ramon Ventura-Camp and sophomore Mariano Romero, all of which bring plenty of experience to the team.
Casto Gomez-Ruiz, Andres Gonzalez and Pedro Lamadrid join the program this fall and will look to challenge for tournament spots. Gomez-Ruiz, a junior college transfer, also brings experience after his two seasons at Western Texas College where he competed in some of the same tournament as the returners.
The Vaqueros kick off their season at the D.A. Weibring Intercollegiate on Monday September 13. They also head to Houston for the HBU Husky Invitational before heading to Las Cruces, New Mexico for the Herb Wimberly Invitational and Stockton, California for the Pacific Invitational in October.
Coach Tate feels the fall schedule, which will give them a peek at conference competition, will definitely be beneficial for the team in their preparation for their spring season.
“I think the fall is a good balance of things we are capable of doing and things that will help us raise that level of expectations,” Tate said. “I think it will be a good chance to prove to ourselves that we can compete at that level. It is a good balance. We will get to tournaments that will be a bit easier and that we should do well in and then there are some tournaments where by national rankings by other teams people will expect us to get beaten but we are going to show up and represent ourselves will. That will provide us a spring board into the spring season.”
The Vaqueros get to start anew and that journey begins this fall.