UTEP's Simonsen Ties For 27th at NCAA Regionals
May 19, 2012
UTEP freshman Martin Simonsen closed the book on an outstanding freshman season, tying for 27th place at NCAA Regionals on Saturday in Norman, Okla.
Simonsen shot a four-over-par 76 on the final round and finished with a seven-over-par 223 (72-75-76). It wasn't enough to make the NCAA Finals, as St. Mary's Jonathan De Los Reye defeated San Diego's Grant Forrest on the first hole (no. 18) of a playoff to earn the lone individual bid out of the regional. De Los Reye and Forrest both fired a two-over-par 218.
Simonsen ended the campaign with a 72.6 scoring average in eight tournaments while becoming the first individual to represent UTEP at NCAA Regionals in three years.
The Denmark native didn't have any disasters on Saturday like he did on Friday, when he triple bogeyed the fifth hole. But after carding a one-over-par 37 on his first nine holes of the day (holes 10-18), he sustained bogeys on four of his first five holes to start the back nine. Simonsen settled down to shoot one-under for his last four holes of the day, including a birdie on hole number eight.
"He got about as much out of the front side as he could have," UTEP coach Scott Lieberwirth said. "It was hard out there with winds at 25 miles per hour consistently and gusting up to 30-35 miles per hour. It was howling sometimes, and you can shoot 80 really quick on this golf course if you're not careful. The average score went up two or three shots from yesterday.
"On the back side, it seemed like when he missed greens he left himself in some awkward spots and didn't quite recover from it. But all in all he had a very successful week. He hung tough."
The Miners now turn the page to a 2012-13 season where they're expected to be much improved. UTEP's best two players towards the end of the year were freshmen Simonsen and Jere Pelletier. Arizona transfer Tye Beall will be eligible to start competing in the spring of 2013, and the Miners hope to get back Roberto Ruiz, who led the team in scoring average a year ago, from a redshirt year.
"The future is very promising with freshmen leading our team right now," Lieberwirth said. "We'll be adding some good players to the mix next year. I'm really excited, and I'm optimistic that we'll have a pretty good team next year."