UHV's Edwards is first to make it to nationals

Irene Edwards had not been able to see her son play this year. Nothing was going to stop her this time.

She changed her flight so she could stay in Victoria an extra day and watch her son, Vance, on Monday and Tuesday.

"My husband and I support him 110 percent," she said. "We did all kinds of tournaments growing up, he did South Texas junior golf, middle school golf and high school golf.

"We traveled as much as we could with him because these times are precious."

Edwards made it worth every moment for his family on Tuesday. The sophomore for UHV owned the course for 36 holes Tuesday in the conference tournament for the Association of Independent Institutions to win the top individual spot by two strokes with rounds of 1-under and 2-under on Tuesday.

He is UHV's first qualifier in golf, men's or women's to reach the national championship.

Edwards had entered the day tied for the individual lead with teammate Steve Jones after both shot even par in Monday's opening round for second place.

"Being able to do this in front of my family is the greatest thing," Edwards said. "I just stuck to my game plan, that was the key to success."

Joining his mother on the course throughout the last two days was his grandfather, who made the trip up from Corpus Christi, and his aunt, who lives in San Antonio. His mother came the farthest, making the trip from El Paso.

Vance's father, Vance Sr., did not get to make the trip to Victoria for the tournament because of a business trip to California, but his mother was determined to be here.

He was still getting updates. Every hole, every stroke, every score was a small update passed on by Irene Edwards and her sister, who followed Vance in a golf cart all day long.

"I switched my days around to come out here, and said, 'I'm going to do it,'" Irene Edwards said. "I would take a picture of the scorecard so he could see what was going on, and if (Vance) made the greens, if he made the fairway, how many putts."

The final round turned into a two-man race between Edwards and Cal State San Marcos' Adam Loran, who shot a 69 the first round and a 1-over 73 in the second.

The two were tied entering the final round.

"After the second round, I knew that if I shot a good score, I could win," Edwards said. "I wasn't aware of what the other guys were doing until about eight holes left, when I asked coach to find out.

"From then on, I just stuck to the game plan because I knew they were going to fall."

UHV golf coach Brian Williamson was ebullient about Edwards play throughout the tournament. The sophomore had spent the winter coming back from a separated shoulder, and is starting to play top notch golf again.

"He played awesome the whole tournament," Williamson said. "He put in the work beforehand, we worked on angles and he was able to execute."

Williamson wasn't around for the first round after spending the morning working at the women's conference tournament across town.

When he arrived at Victoria Country Club, he found Edwards was more than ready for the final round.

"I got over here for the last round, asked him what he needed," Williamson said. "He said just keep giving him water and let him work."

With the win, Edwards earns a berth in the NAIA national championship in Salem, Ore., in two weeks.

The debate in the Edwards household now shifts to who gets to join Vance there, his mother or his father.

"I'm going to talk to him about that, see who's going to go, me or him," Irene Edwards said. "One of us will be there."



TOURNAMENT NOTES• Cal State San Marcos ran away with the AII men's golf tournament crown, shooting three rounds under 300 and winning with a team score of 10-over for the tournament. Loran posted the low score for the team, with a 215 overall with rounds of 69, 73 and 73.

•  UHV finished fourth in the event overall after closing the tournament strong. Steve Jones shot rounds of 72 and 76, but was disqualified in the second round because he signed for an incorrect score. Also for the Jaguars, Colton Martin shot rounds of 80, 77 and 75; Jake Truss posted rounds of 78, 81 and 77; and William Dawson-Hicks shot rounds of 91, 83 and 84. As a medalist, UHV's Jesse Acosta shot roundsof 85, 83 and 75.