Men’s golf team head coach Bill Montigel said he felt confident that the Horned Frogs would perform well at the upcoming Jack Nicklaus Invitational in Dublin, Ohio, Oct. 10-11.
And the Mountain West seemed to agree. The conference named freshman Julien Brun the Mountain West Co-Men’s Golfer of the Month for September on Friday. Brun, a native of Antibes, France, shared the award with UNLV junior Kevin Penner.
“It takes a really outstanding player to get it,” Montigel said. “He plays hard, and he deserves it.”
Throughout Montigel’s past 23 seasons as head golf coach, Brun has been the only freshman to win the opening tournament of his career. The freshman acquired his first individual collegiate victory at the Turning Stone Tiger Intercollegiate by posting an 8-under-par 208 (70-67-71) on the par 72, 6,724-yard course. Brun won the second tournament of the season in Verona, NY, by two strokes over junior teammate Daniel Jennevret Sept. 5.
Both Brun and Jennevret were selected to go to the Jack Nicklaus Invitational. Brun said he was excited to go to Ohio this weekend because he had never been there before.
In Europe, all tournaments are played individually, so Brun said playing for a collegiate team was an adjustment. Brun added that members of a team focus more on each shot because of that shot’s impact on the entire team.
“Each shot is really important, not only for yourself but for all the team,” Brun said.
Monday, the team members qualified to see who would go to Ohio Saturday by competing in short game practices at the Waterchase Golf Course in Fort Worth, Montigel said. The top five scorers were elected to compete. Senior Johan de Beer, sophomore Ian Phillips and senior Eduardo Perez will join Brun and Jennevret at the Muirfield Village Golf Club. The 220-acre course has 18 holes and was designed by Jack Nicklaus.
In Farmingdale, NY, Jennevret led the Frogs at The McLaughlin, finishing second at -9 overall on Sept. 17. Brun tied for third at -4 with de Beer and six other players.
The Horned Frogs finished second in their first two tournaments of the season. But Jennevret said that the team would not stop hitting balls until its next tournament on Oct. 10 in Ohio.
“The biggest challenge is probably to actually get in the right state of mind, be relaxed and just enjoy playing,” he said.
Jennevret added that it was easy to get caught up in the competition, worrying about his performance rather than simply losing himself in the game.
Jennevret said he wanted to focus on aspects of the game he could control, like his own behavior and reactions on the course. He does not fret about scores or outcomes, the weather, the course or hole location, he said. Instead, his focus is trained on what he can actually affect.
“If I can do those parts well, then I’ve done whatever I can do,” Jennevret said.
Montigel said that the team has been working hard and maintaining a great attitude while preparing for the Jack Nicklaus Invitational hosted by The Ohio State University. There would be some very good teams there–the University of Texas, Oklahoma State University, Kansas State University, Arkansas State University and Louisiana State University–he said, but he thought that the team was up to the challenge.
The Horned Frogs will play a practice round Sunday before kicking off the tournament Monday with 36 holes. The Jack Nicklaus Invitational will continue Tuesday until the entirety of the 54 holes are complete.