Category Archives: Bronco Men’s Golf

Kapalamoto’s 1-under par good for 9th at Wiginton Invitational

NMMI’s Boyd Kapalamoto – (left) chipping onto the No. 1 green; (right) holding his ‘Top Ten’ tournament trophy.

The Bronco men’s golf team had a tough day on their home course, placing last in the seven-team Sonny Wiginton Invitational.

It was an uncharacteristically damp and cold day at the NMMI golf course, and sophomore Boyd Kapalamoto was one of the few Bronco bright spots. His 1-under-par performance in the single-day, 36-hole tournament was good for a two-way tie for ninth-place individual honors.

Boyd shot an even-par 70 during his first round on the 7004-yard course from the extended championship black tees, putting him in a three-way tie for 10th. He then bettered his morning turn by one shot to move up one place, just four shots away from the tournament titleist tie between Midland College’s Callum Bruce (70-65) and Ranger College’s Pheemawat Wimonrat (67-68).

Two other NMMI players finished in the top 20: sophomore Chris Mumba at 12th with a 1-over-par performance: 70-71; and Harrison Yu a single shot back in 15th: 69-73.

As a team NMMI shot 14-over par – which didn’t include Kapalamoto’s scores – 36 strokes in back of another tie for first place, again between Midland and Ranger.

Team Results:
T1, Midland College, 282-273—555 and Ranger College, 278-277—555; 3rd, Western Texas College, 281-284—565; 4th, Midland College (B), 284-290—574; 5th, Garden City CC, 291-291—574; 6th, Eastern Arizona College, 290-298—588; 7th, New Mexico Military Institute, 297-294—591.

NMMI Individual Results:
T9, Boyd Kapalamoto, 70-69—139*; T12 Chris Mumba, 70-71—141; Harrison Yu, 69-73—142; 42, Dylan Gonzales, 80-73—153; T45, Boss Phokan, 79-77—156; T45, Jackson Zinn, 79-77—156; 49 Gift Zulu, 88-80—168*.

denotes player was participating as an individual rather than as a team member

Complete tournament results can be found on the Golfstat website: http://results.golfstat.com//public/leaderboards/gsnav.cfm?pg=participants&tid=16552

Bronco golf begins season at home in Sonny Wiginton Intercollegiate

Left to right: sophomore team captain Aaron Troilo with his freshman teammates: Gift Zulu, Christian Mumba,Boyd Kapalamoto, Prin Phokan and Robert Choi.


NMMI Sports Press

The Bronco golf team will officially start their spring season at home Sunday with a tournament that’s anything but easy.

The second annual Sonny Wiginton Intercollegiate will feature six teams, including the top three ranked junior college teams in the country.

“The No. 1, 2 and 3 teams in the country will be here, along with probably five or six of the top individual players in the country on those teams,” said head NMMI coach Andy Robertson. “Our guys have a lot of work to do, but it’ll be interesting because we too are on the rise. I’m really anxious to see what’s going on.”

NMMI has a six-player squad this year, led by five freshmen.

Aaron Troilo, a sophomore from Michigan who’ll follow his brother – a former NMMI cadet – to the Air Force Academy, is the only holdover.

Leading the pack of freshmen is Prin Phokan from Thailand, who qualified at No. 1. Swaziland native Gift Zulu moved from No. 4 in the fall to No. 2; while Boyd Kapalamoto, Zambia, is at No. 3; Chris Mumba, Zambia, No. 4; and Hawaiian Robert Choi at No. 5.

Mumba was a last minute addition to the team and Robertson was very pleased with NMMI Admissions team to bring the African to NMMI on very short notice.

“Everybody did a heck of a job really helping me out,” the coach said. “He’s here. He’s playing and so we’re very happy.”

And overall, Robertson said, the team has worked hard.

“We had to get used to college golf and what it was all about and we’ve done that,” he said. “Now, just through six rounds of qualifying, we are five shots better per round as a team than we were in the fall. So I’m hoping to see if that carries over to actual college competition and tournaments, because if it does, we might have to be reckoned with.”

“I think we have a strong five, and to get four scores out of those five I’m hoping that it’s very positive.”

The scores will need to be strong to compete with the teams coming to NMMI on Sunday.

No. 1-ranked McLennan Community College will be competing; Odessa College sits at No. 2 and won last year’s team title at the NJCAA National Championships; Midland College, another conference opponent, is currently ranked No. 3 nationally; New Mexico Junior College also plays in the WJCAC and holds the No. 12 slot in this week’s national poll; Garden City Community College from Kansas has received votes in the national poll and is ranked in the top 25.

Of these six teams playing, four belong to what Robertson said is hands-down the best conference in the country: the Western Junior College Athletic Conference.

“Our coaches do a great job of recruiting and it’s always strong competition. Such competition brings the best out of you so you can’t ask for anything more,” he said.

Historically, he said, a WJCAC team has been the national champion seven or eight years out of 10.

But the Wiginton won’t be the only chance for local fans to see the tough conference teams. After the golf course originally slated to host the conference championship had to back out, Robertson suggested the NMMI Golf Course and the other coaches agreed. So after more than a month on the road, the Broncos will be back home in late April for the WJCAC Championships.

Robertson said the NMMI course will be tough for everyone competing, with changes made for last year’s Wiginton Intercollegiate being kept for this year’s tournaments.

“In the past, junior college players came here and shot 62s and 63s and just tore this place up,” the coach said. “We wanted to make it more of a challenge, so we’ve put in 10 new tees and we have lengthened the course to 7,028 yards from 6,500”.

Holes 1 and 18, which are par 5s for the public, are now par 4s for the collegiate golfers, reducing par from 72 down to 70.

These changes will bring back the original course design to counter today’s big hitters and bring back into play the tree lines. The course won’t be as wide open as in the past and will require golfers to place a premium on keeping it in play more.

The course record from the new championship tees was set last year by an NMJC golfer, who shot a 3-under 67, but then came back with a 77 on his second round. That, the coach said, shows how tough the course is now.

“College golfers now have to compete hard,” Robertson said. “If you were to look on TV at the PGA, when they go to par 70 and it’s over 7,000, that’s pretty strong. It is a challenge but it’s a good challenge and we look forward to seeing how we stand up.”

And Sonny Wiginton would most likely be quite proud of the tough golf NMMI will be playing.

“Wiggs” as he was affectionately called by his friends and colleagues, led the Bronco golf program from 1989 until his retirement in 2002. In that time he produced 13 NJCAA All-Americans and took 15 teams to the national championships. About half or so of the thirteen went on to become pro golfers, including Norahito Sato, a ’90 All-American who played in the Masters and four times in the British Open; Gary Orr, an ’87 All-American who played in the British Open several times with a best 41st-place finish in 2000 and in the US Open with a 74th placing in 2001; Michael Krantz, an ’83 All-American who played in the Open; and David Tasker, who went on to Texas A&M and is a professional golfer.

“He was a heck of a recruiter from everywhere around the world,” Robertson said of Wiginton.

This Sunday’s tournament is a one-day, 36-hole affair that keeps the players on the course from the 8 a.m. shotgun start until early evening.

“These kids are constantly on the golf course. There is no after 18 come sit down, talk, have lunch. It’s just go,” Robertson said. “They’re eating as they’re walking – take a shot then eat some more.”

Players, coaches and fans will be able to eat from a hot dog wagon hosted by the pro shop, and fans are not only welcome to watch, they’re encouraged.

“The public is always invited to come and watch and you’ll see some outstanding golf. Good individuals; good kids who put forth their craft,” Robertson said. “We’re very proud of this tournament. I think it’s a good deal. We go 36 holes. Most tournaments are 54, but we go 36 on a Sunday so you can come in, get it done, leave on a Sunday and not miss any school.”

Standing in front of the list of NMMI’s All-American golfers, Bronco men’s head golf coach Andy Robertson holds up one of the individual trophies for the Second Annual Sonny Wiginton Intercollegiate.

Newest Bronco golfer has similarities for famous NMMI grad

Robert Choi – third from left – with his parent, golf coach, head NMMI coach, and the members of of the NMMI Sports Medicine staff.


NMMI Sports Press

Robert Choi in his ACU uniform.

The newest Bronco golfer has something in common with a very famous NMMI athlete. See if you can figure out who.

Robert Choi, who hails from Hawaii, wanted to go to West Point from high school. But his math grades were a bit too low, so they suggested he come to NMMI for a semester to fix those grades before he enrolls in the service academy.

He and his parents thought that was a good idea, and now he’s a New Mexico Military Institute cadet.

Have you guessed yet who has a similar trajectory?

Choi — no relation to Peter and Paul Choi, Bronco grads who are headed to Sterling, Kansas, to continue their college careers — follows in the footsteps of Navy and NFL star Roger Staubach, who came to the Institute to make up a deficiency in English before going to Annapolis.

Whether Choi will reach those heights is still an unknown, but for someone who only truly started in the sport four years ago, coach Andy Robertson is pleased.

“We’re very excited to have him,” the coach said. “To be at this level is just unreal.”

Choi improved his golf game while enrolled in the KMR School of Golf, a prestigious academy at the Ko’ Olau Golf Course in Honolulu. Under the practiced eye of coach Kevin Rolbovsky, Choi practiced for four hours daily — his only day off was Sunday, and he was on the course then — and he improved quickly.

“Like all our students, we gave him a trial period and he did very well and it seemed like he was a good fit,” Rolbovsky said. “He’s very athletic. Played a lot of other sports, so we were able to translate that athletic ability into his golf swing very quickly. Then it’s just a matter of every day, trying to make it a little better, a little cleaner with his technique.”

The coach — who accompanied Choi and his parents to NMMI for the signing — has no doubt he’ll make a mark with the BRoncos.

“He’s developed into a really nice hitter of the golf ball. Very long. Very straight. His tee to green game is outstanding. Still has room for improvement on the scoring side of things, but it’s just a matter of time.”

Choi is confident with his game on the fairways.

“I think I hit the driver pretty far for my size,” he said. “I’m pretty strong and accurate with my irons, and I believe that’s an important part of your golf game and will bring your score down.”

In April, the future Bronco tied for 22nd in the Mid-Pacific Open, a solid PGA four-day tournament in Lanikai on Oahu.

Everyone at the signing seemed excited to be in New Mexico — “I like this school very much. I appreciate coach Robertson allowing my son to play here,” said father Patrick Choi — and the younger Choi had a lot of people to thank for the opportunity.

“I’d like to thank my family, of course, for making me who I am today, and I’d like to thank my coach for helping me with my game and all the things he’s done for me.”

Broncos place 5th at windy Wiginton Intercollegiate

NMMI’s Peter Choi looks down the No. 1 fairway prior to his tee shot in the first round of play at the Wiginton Intercollegiate Golf Tournament.]

NMMI’s Peter Choi looks down the No. 1 fairway prior to his tee shot in the first round of play at the Wiginton Intercollegiate Golf Tournament.]

 

Paul Montoya with long iron out of the rough on 18.

Paul Montoya with long iron out of the rough on 18.

NMMI Sports Press

It was two completely different 18-hole rounds at the inaugural Sonny Wiginton Intercollegiate Golf Tournament, held at the New Mexico Military Institute Golf Course on Sunday, Mar. 5th. The winds picked up dramatically for the second half of the 36-hole, 1-day competition, sending most scores, including the host team NMMI Broncos’, into the stratosphere.

Tee shot off No. 1 by Lucas Bohannon.

Tee shot off No. 1 by Lucas Bohannon.

“After the first 18, there were four teams tied at 284 and we were four shots back at 288,” explained head Bronco golf coach Andy Robertson.  “Our second round came in at 304. We didn’t get it done, we needed one more good score and ended up finishing fifth. I thought the winds would be in our favor, but it ended up hurting the home team; why I don’t know,” continued coach.

Although disappointed with the afternoon team tally, coach Robertson was pleased with the performance of Peter Choi. Choi shot two-over par to finish in a three-way tie for seventh place in the individual portion of the tournament.

Deric Loving getting the read on a 15-foot birdie putt on 11.

Deric Loving getting the read on a 15-foot birdie putt on 11.

As a team going into the tournament on Sunday, NMMI was listed as 17th in the nation, but coach Robertson doesn’t think they’ll drop down in the rankings, since two of the teams ahead of NMMI were four-year schools, and because they finished ahead of ninth-ranked New Mexico Junior College.

Regardless of the new rankings, Robertson wants his team to focus on the next few weeks, which includes a tournament during NMMI’s scheduled Spring Break. “The next two weeks we have conference venues and hopefully we’ll get back to the 288 scores and do a little better,” he said.

18th tee box, driver by Paul Choi.

18th tee box, driver by Paul Choi.

Team Results: 1st, Midland College, 284-284—568; 2nd, Western New Mexico University, 284-287—571; 3rd, McLennan Community College, 284-291—575; 4th, Colorado School of Mines, 284-298—582; 5th, New Mexico Military Institute, 288-304—592; 6th, New Mexico Junior College, 296-302—598; 7th, Garden City Community College, 298-304—602.

NMMI Individual Results: T7, Peter Choi, 70-72—142; 26 T26, Lucas Bohannon, 74-75—149; T26, Paul Choi, 73-76—149; T32, Paul Montoya, 71-82—153; T 38, Arturo Quintero, 74-81—155; DNF, Deric Loving, 76-WD.

Arturo Quintero put this sand shot within 3 feet of the pin, out of the left bunker at 18.

Arturo Quintero put this sand shot within 3 feet of the pin, out of the left bunker at 18.

 

Edward Schlensig, mid-iron out of the fairway at 10.

Edward Schlensig, mid-iron out of the fairway at 10.

Broncos to Host Inaugural Sonny Wiginton Intercollegiate Golf Tournament

BRGolfNavBarGraphicNMMI Sports Press

The New Mexico Military Institute Bronco golf team will be hosting the first annual Sonny Wiginton Intercollegiate Golf Tournament on Sunday, March 5 on their newly renovated home course with a 36-hole match teeing off with a shotgun start at 8:15 am.  The course has been lengthened to over 7000 yards by extending ten tee-boxes and changing the course to a par-70. Holes 1 and 18 have been changed to par-4s. These changes will bring back the original course design to counter today’s big hitters and bring back into play the tree lines. The course won’t be as wide open as in the past and will require golfers to place a premium of keeping it in play more.

“Wiggs” as he was affectionately called by his friends and fellow colleagues led the NMMI Bronco golf program from 1989 until his retirement in 2002.  In that time Coach Wiginton produced 13 NJCAA All-Americans and took 15 teams to the national championships. About half or so of the thirteen went on to become pro golfers including Norahito Sato, 90 All-American that played in the Masters and four times in the British Open.  Gary Orr, 87 All-American played in the British Open several times with a best 41st place finish in 2000 and in the US Open with a 74th placing in 2001.  Michael Krantz, 83 All-American also played in the Open and David Tasker went on to Texas A&M and is a professional golfer. With the program accomplishments, current Bronco golf coach Andy Robertson has recently nominated “Wiggs” for the NJCAA Hall of Fame posthumously as Sonny passed back in January 2015.

NMMI will be hosting six teams including conference foes NMJC, Midland and McLennan as well as Western New Mexico, Colorado School of Mines and Garden City out of Kansas. Several of these coaches competed against Coach Wiginton in the past and Coach Robertson added “these guys will be delighted that the tournament has been named in honor of their old friend.  It will also give us a chance to see where we stand with some of our conference opponents. We play in the toughest conference in the country. It will usually produce the national champion about seven out of ten times. They take the top four teams from the conference and Midland, Odessa and NMJC are pretty solid so we are going to have to battle with McLennan, West Texas and Ranger for that last spot. We have beaten them this year but they have also beaten us so it going to be a real go-getter this season”.

Leading the Broncos are sophomores Paul Montoya, team captain from Rio Rancho, Lucas Bohannon from Albuquerque and the South African twins Peter and Paul Choi. Rounding out the squad that will be counted on for scoring will be Arturo Quintero of Venezuela whose game has improved ten-fold from last semester. Robertson mused on Quintero, “he would stay and work for so long that they almost had to call the NMMI police to get him off the driving range. His hard work and dedication has paid off as he was our top scorer at our last tournament in El Paso where we finished second. In the first semester his game just was not very good and really didn’t compete at all. Those are the kind of things coaches love to see, to see kids from out of nowhere and do well and stick with it. With him staying late and putting in the work has really turned things around for him.”

Playing as individuals for the Broncos will also be local Goddard grad Deric Loving and Alamogordo grad Edward Schlenshig.

Coach Wiginton also coached Bronco football as the offensive coordinator under Dwight Burns and Lefty Stecklein in the 1990’s when the program was revived at NMMI starting in 1992.