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Former Golf: Trevino remembers glory days as UL golfer

Dan McDonald , The Advertiser, October 30, 2014


Matt Trevino
(Photo: Advertiser File Photo)

It’s been over 17 years, but the images are still clear in the minds of Matt Trevino and Bob Bass.

Both remember the shot, the one that gave UL the 1997 Sun Belt Conference title.

"It’s still one of the most memorable golf moments I’ve ever had," said Trevino, who is one of this weekend UL Lettermen Club Hall of Fame inductees Saturday during Homecoming activities. "One of my fondest memories."

"Just for him to be playing that day made a big impression on me," said Bass, the coach of that squad and later named the coach of the Sun Belt’s All-Time Team in the league’s first 25 years. "Much less for him to save the tournament for us." 

It may not be the best shot in Cajun golf history, but it’s likely the biggest clutch shot … especially considering the backstory that led up to that Wednesday afternoon at The Club at Cimarron in Mission Texas.

The Cajuns were in a four-way fight with South Alabama, Arkansas State and Arkansas-Little Rock for team honors on the final day of the three-day event that became the closest race in league history. They’d held a five-stroke team lead entering a final round, but rain and windy conditions made that final 18 holes an adventure. The weather seemed to conspire against Trevino, who had been fighting the flu since the team’s trip to South Texas.

"He was deathly sick, running 104 fever," Bass said. "He didn’t even tell me until we were on the road … he didn’t give me a choice. The whole tournament, he’d play, go back to the room and go to bed."

That worked in the first two days when Trevino shot back-to-back 69 scores on the par-72 Cimarron course, and with consistent play from fellow eventual all-conference honorees Brett Overman and Greg Sonnier, the Cajuns were in position for their first league crown since 1993.

Golf fortunes being what they are, the final round became a shootout, and eventually UL and USA were tied for the lead with two groups left to play the ninth hole (the teams started on the back nine in that final round, so the par-four 384-yard ninth was the wrapup hole).

That was when Overman, like Trevino a junior, snaked in a 60-foot putt for birdie to give UL a one-stroke lead with Trevino – the team’s most consistent player all season – on the tee.

"Matt had always been a draw hitter," Bass said. "That was the shot he hit with his tee ball, and the lake was to the left and the wind was blowing right to left toward the water." 

That last Cajun tee ball for the tournament was somewhere between a draw and a hook and carried into the lake. South Alabama’s final player was safely in the fairway, and the resultant one-stroke penalty meant that Trevino had to get up-and-down from 120 yards for a par that would have assured no worse than a playoff for the team title. A bogey would have meant a likely runner-up finish.

"We knew where we stood on the last tee," Trevino said. "After I hit in the water, on the way down off the tee he (Bass) was with me and it was like a mini-pep talk. He said if anybody on the team can make a two with a wedge in their hands, it’s you."

With USA on the green in two and 25 feet away, Trevino’s wedge came to rest 10 feet from the cup, with a tricky ridge and a good-sized left-to-right break to save par.

"On the way to the green, it was the same thing," Trevino said. "Wouldn’t want anybody else putting htis putt for a conference championship."

The USA player putted first, just missing the long birdie and tapping in for par. That left only Trevino with a winning putt.

"I’d putted pretty well all week," Trevino said. "I just kept the hands tight and gave it enough room to the left."

"He went up there and just drained it right in the middle," Bass said. "One of the best finishes I ever saw in college golf. We had a lot of super finishes, but to make the par after putting it in the water, with all the heat on you, all you could say was wow."

"I just remember all the jumping up and down," Trevino said of his teammates pouring onto the green when his putt went in. "We’d had a couple of good breaks on that green all day, so it was kind of fitting."

College golf being what it is, unlike most other collegiate sports, there wasn’t a throng of spectators on hand. Mostly, it was teams and family members circling the final green. More people saw the heroics of Trevino’s fellow Hall of Fame honorees this weekend – basketball’s Michael Allen, baseball’s Steven Feehan and softball’s Jill Robertson – during their careers.

But there have been few single moments in Cajun lore that have been so clutch.

Trevino hasn’t been back to Cimarron since, even though he’s been a PGA teaching professional in Texas for years. He said he’ll go back there one of these years, drop a ball and recollect.

For now, he remembers the moment, and the ride home.

"After being gone that long, those trips are typically long and draining," he said. "Even being all the way down there, coming home was an easy ride. We were in no hurry."