UTA Men’s golf brings in new players from Peru, South Africa

Golf freshman Daniel Cronje plays his shot out of a bunker Sept. 26 at the Lone Star Invitational in San Antonio, Texas. Cronje, a native of South Africa, is one of the golf team's newest recruits.

A recruiting trip to Miami and an email helped Casey Devoll, men’s golf head coach, land his two newest recruits.

Freshmen Daniel Cronje and Alberto Menacho achieved success in their respective home countries of South Africa and Peru. Now, both will attempt to emulate that success with the men’s golf program, which lost two of its most experienced athletes to graduation.

Cronje, a native of Paarl, South Africa, was the 10th-ranked junior golfer in his home country.

Devoll recruited Cronje to UTA after he received an email from the South Africa native that included his resume and playing tape. He said he was impressed by Cronje’s golf swing and how fundamentally sound it was.

“It is unbelievable. It is something you see on TV,” Devoll said. “Everything about [his swing], fundamentally, is on point. He’s going to excel.”

Cronje joined the program with a goal of becoming a professional golfer. He said he thinks going through the college process in the U.S. is the next step in pursuing his professional career.

Devoll discovered Menacho on a recruiting trip to Miami. Though originally there to recruit a golfer from Ecuador, Devoll turned his attention toward Menacho.

“I guess he liked my game, and I was really lucky for [Devoll] to be there,” Menacho said.

The Lima, Peru, native was a member of the Peruvian National Golf Team that competed in the 2017 Toyota Junior World Cup in Japan. He is also a three-time Peruvian Junior Champion.

Menacho, whose first language is Spanish, faces a barrier as he enters his first year at UTA: adjusting to obtaining his education and learning about the game he loves in a different language.

“The fact that it’s all in English right now, it’s kind of hard,” Menacho said. “It’s just a process.”

Even though Cronje and Menacho have only been on campus for a couple of months, Devoll said he has already seen them buy into the culture of the program.

“It’s an individual sport, but it’s a team, and they realize that everybody’s helping everybody,” Devoll said. “It’s a fantastic dynamic that we have this year.”

Cronje and Menacho have already been put to the test this season. Cronje competed at the Lone Star Invitational, UTA’s season-opening tournament, tying for 26th place at 9-over-par 225.

Menacho, meanwhile, was dealing with a change to his swing, Devoll said, and has not made his collegiate debut yet.

“The more reps he gets in, he’ll be fine,” he said. “That’s the thing we tell them. It’s a marathon.”

Cronje and Menacho share an equal goal of wanting to take the men’s golf program to the top of the Sun Belt Conference.

“I would really love to play nationals,” Menacho said. “That would be huge. The team is looking great right now, we have some really good players. Everyone is playing their best.”

The men’s golf team will return to the green for the Mark Simpson Colorado Invitational on Oct. 7 in Erie, Colorado.

@c_amaya7

sports-editor.shorthorn@uta.edu

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