I don’t know how they do it, but UTEP men’s golf coach Scott Lieberwirth and UTEP women’s golf coach Jere Pelletier come up with outstanding players year after year.

There’s no doubt that golf is the most successful athletic program at the school. Both teams win out of town tournaments nearly every year; the men’s team even won the Conference USA team title in 2017; and the women’s team finished second last year.

Latest examples of top players: UTEP junior Oskar Ambrosius of the men’s team and Valeria Mendizabal of the women’s team. 

Both won individual championships in their first tournament of the fall season.


AMBROSIUS WON the individual title at the Colorado State Ram Masters with a stunning nine under par for three rounds. He shot 65, 68, 68, and finished six strokes ahead of the runner-up. He had 18 birdies during the three rounds.

Meanwhile, Mendizabal, a junior from Guatemala, shot 3-under-par 68 in the final round to take home first place in the MSU/Payne Stewart Memorial at Twin Oaks Country Club in Springfield, Missouri. She led the Miners to a second-place finish with a score of 69, 75, 68.


IN THE SECOND tournament of the season, the Wyoming Cowgirl Desert Intercollegiate Sept. 29, the women’s team took third place. The Miners shot 324 and ended just two shots off the winner, Cal Poly. Mendizabal led the way, shooting 74, 72 and 75 and finished second. Audrey Haddad tied for seventh out of 63 players.

UTEP’s OSKAR Ambrosius of the men’s team tied for ninth in the field of 100 golfers in the William H. Tucker Invitational in Albuquerque on Sept. 28. Overall, the men’s squad finished the tournament 13th. Ambrosius was two under par with 72-70-72.

The men’s team will travel to the North Texas Maridoe Invitational in Carrollton, Texas, on Oct. 6. The women’s team will compete starting Oct. 7 in the New Mexico State Aggie Invitational.

IN A RECENT column I asked in my trivia question who was the first African American to win Wimbledon? El Pasoan Dan Wever, a top-notch tennis player at Austin High School in the 1950s, wrote:

“Ray, I was there and got to see (Althea Gibson) win. I was stationed about 70 miles away and went and stood in line in a light drizzle for about two hours and got a ticket to center court for about two bucks.”

Gibson also won the U.S. Open that year and the Associated Press named her Female Athlete of the Year. During the 1950s, She won 56 singles and doubles titles, including 11 major titles.

Veteran sports journalist, historian and author Ray Sanchez welcomes suggestions for his column.  Contact him at (915) 584-0626; ray358@yahoo.com; or raysanchezbooks.com.