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Thursday, May 19, 2022 — Houston, TX

Land of Enchantment anything but that for golf

By Paul Fitzgerald     10/27/11 7:00pm

Seeking to capitalize on the positive vibes from the Lone Star Invitational, the golf team traveled to Las Cruces, New Mexico for the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate. Instead of another positive finish, they left New Mexico with a bit ter taste in their mouths from a last-place finish.

Rice got off to a poor start with a score of 302 for Monday's opening round. Continu ing his strong play, which included an in dividual tournament title at the Lone Star, sophomore Jeff Wibawa shot an even-par 71. Freshman James Ragan fired a 75, with se nior Erik Mayer and sophomore Chris Con treras shooting matching 78s.

Rice was able to improve its play in the second round on Monday afternoon, shooting a team score of 296. Wibawa carded a one-under 70, placing him in a tie for 13th place. Ragan once again shot the second-best score for the team with a three-over 74. Junior Brock Wilson posted a 75.

Looking to improve its standing on the tour nament leaderboard heading into Tuesday's fi nal round, the team instead slid back, shooting a 304 to leave them in last place in the 14-team field. Wibawa was unable to continue his solid play, shooting a 77 that put him in a tie for 30th, which left him disappointed.

"I just didn't have my game all week long," Wibawa said. "I putted well on Monday, and that let me play a decent two rounds, but I just didn't show up on Tuesday."

Wilson was the low man for the Owls during Tuesday's action, shooting a 74 to leave him in a tie for 69th. Ragan posted a 77 that put him in a tie for 59th, while Mayer and Contreras finished in ties for 76th and 80th respectively. While the Owls did not have much to be positive about, sophomore James Hiester's performance excit ed Head Coach Justin Emil.

"I was very proud of James," Emil said. "For the fall season, he definitely won the most im proved award, and I see him in the lineup a lot in the future."

Hiester, who traveled to the Herb Wimberly as an individual, shot 75-77-73. His third round play allowed him to finish in a tie for 57th, giv ing him the second-highest finish on the team.

With their fall season now over, the Owls will now look to use the next three months to work on their game, and Wibawa believes they have some room for improvement.

"We need to improve upon our scoring abil ity," Wibawa said. "We have a lot of guys that know how to hit the ball well, to putt the ball well, but we're not getting the most out of our rounds right now. We just need to work on making birdies and minimizing our mistakes on the course."

The team kicks off the spring portion of its season with the Oak Hills Invitational on Feb. 13 and 14, which will be hosted by the University of Texas-San Antonio, be fore returning to Houston to host the Rice Intercollegiate. Emil plans to use the time between now and Oak Hills to get to know his young team better.

"I want to be able to tell what gets them going, and that will require taking a psychological look at them," Emil said. "Golf is the most mental game there is, so I need to know what makes them tick."

While the Owls are certainly disappointed in how they played this Fall, Wibawa says they will improve and come out strong in the spring.

"As a team, we expect to get better for the spring," Wibawa said. "I don't know where we're going to come out after the offseason, but we're going to work hard and see where we come out in February."

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