Hernandez finds adventure at Eastern

Maria Baldwin, Staff Reporter

For some students at Eastern, going on an adventure means hanging out at Charleston Lake for an afternoon.

For freshman golfer Alvaro Hernandez, it meant moving to a different continent.

Hernandez said he found Eastern through a recruiting coach in Spain and wanted to come when he found out about coach Mike Moncel’s swing-coaching abilities.

“I found out coach Moncel was a very good swing coach,” Hernandez said. “He has given me a lot of advice and I’ve put work in and it’s paying off because I’m playing very well.”

Moving across the Atlantic would be a difficult transition, but Hernandez said he wanted to experience life in the United States.

“It was a big transition, because it was the first time I moved away from my parents,” Hernandez said.

He said learning to speak English was also hard and the people who spoke English in Spain were not very good.

Hernandez said he has enjoyed his time here so far, except for one detail.

“Many guys here stop playing golf in the winter,” Hernandez said. “I’ve never stopped in Spain, I’ve always played all year around, and it’s really good weather there.”

Hernandez also had to adapt to a tougher practice schedule as every new student-athlete does.

“It was tough at first, because we had qualifier practices for the meets,” Hernandez said. “We have eight people on the team, but only five can go to meets. So we would play 18 holes of golf every day which takes about four or five hours.”

Despite having to adapt to the winter climate in Illinois and having to power through the team qualifiers, Hernandez has been leading Eastern so far in the spring golf season.

In the two tournaments Eastern has played in so far, Hernandez has lead in Eastern in scoring in each.

At the Twin Oaks Intercollegiate at Missouri State, Hernandez posted a score of 71 to finish in a tie for 16th place, to help Eastern to an 11th place finish.

Hernandez started the first day in a tie for 36th after teams played 36 holes until dark. Hernandez’s three-round total was 225.

“Sometimes I take too many risks, and then I pay for it by making some mistakes, but you have to risk it for the biscuit,” Hernandez said. “I like playing aggressively and to just make some birdies.”

In the second tournament of the season at the Arkansas State Red Wolf Intercollegiate, Hernandez shot all three rounds in the 70s to finish in a tie for 38th with a three-round total of 226.

“I played well during the fall season and then so far this spring we’ve played in two tournaments,” Hernandez said. “The first tournament I played very well, maybe the first day the results didn’t reflect on how well we played, but the second tournament wasn’t that good, not as good as the first. But we have another meet this weekend and then conference, so I just have to work for it and try for the best result I can make.”

As far as the rest of the season goes, Hernandez has set high goals for himself, and said while they may seem unrealistic, he is going to work toward them.

“I know I’m a freshman, but I’d really like to win conference,” Hernandez said. “Because I’m a freshman it’ll be tough, because there are two really good players, I would like to win it eventually and go to regionals, but that’s maybe an unrealistic goal for this year.”

Hernandez said while he enjoys playing golf because of the intense game it can be, the challenge of the course is what has kept him motivated to play ever since he was six years old.

“In football, or soccer, you play in the same field every time, but golf has different courses and it’s always a different challenge,” Hernandez said. “Each hole is different, and you are always in a different environment, and I like being outside with the nature.”

The Panthers will travel to the Beu/Mussatto invitational hosted by Western Friday.

 

Maria Baldwin can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]