NMMI Sports Press
The New Mexico Military Institute Bronco golf team will be hosting the first annual Sonny Wiginton Intercollegiate Golf Tournament on Sunday, March 5 on their newly renovated home course with a 36-hole match teeing off with a shotgun start at 8:15 am. The course has been lengthened to over 7000 yards by extending ten tee-boxes and changing the course to a par-70. Holes 1 and 18 have been changed to par-4s. These changes will bring back the original course design to counter today’s big hitters and bring back into play the tree lines. The course won’t be as wide open as in the past and will require golfers to place a premium of keeping it in play more.
“Wiggs” as he was affectionately called by his friends and fellow colleagues led the NMMI Bronco golf program from 1989 until his retirement in 2002. In that time Coach Wiginton produced 13 NJCAA All-Americans and took 15 teams to the national championships. About half or so of the thirteen went on to become pro golfers including Norahito Sato, 90 All-American that played in the Masters and four times in the British Open. Gary Orr, 87 All-American played in the British Open several times with a best 41st place finish in 2000 and in the US Open with a 74th placing in 2001. Michael Krantz, 83 All-American also played in the Open and David Tasker went on to Texas A&M and is a professional golfer. With the program accomplishments, current Bronco golf coach Andy Robertson has recently nominated “Wiggs” for the NJCAA Hall of Fame posthumously as Sonny passed back in January 2015.
NMMI will be hosting six teams including conference foes NMJC, Midland and McLennan as well as Western New Mexico, Colorado School of Mines and Garden City out of Kansas. Several of these coaches competed against Coach Wiginton in the past and Coach Robertson added “these guys will be delighted that the tournament has been named in honor of their old friend. It will also give us a chance to see where we stand with some of our conference opponents. We play in the toughest conference in the country. It will usually produce the national champion about seven out of ten times. They take the top four teams from the conference and Midland, Odessa and NMJC are pretty solid so we are going to have to battle with McLennan, West Texas and Ranger for that last spot. We have beaten them this year but they have also beaten us so it going to be a real go-getter this season”.
Leading the Broncos are sophomores Paul Montoya, team captain from Rio Rancho, Lucas Bohannon from Albuquerque and the South African twins Peter and Paul Choi. Rounding out the squad that will be counted on for scoring will be Arturo Quintero of Venezuela whose game has improved ten-fold from last semester. Robertson mused on Quintero, “he would stay and work for so long that they almost had to call the NMMI police to get him off the driving range. His hard work and dedication has paid off as he was our top scorer at our last tournament in El Paso where we finished second. In the first semester his game just was not very good and really didn’t compete at all. Those are the kind of things coaches love to see, to see kids from out of nowhere and do well and stick with it. With him staying late and putting in the work has really turned things around for him.”
Playing as individuals for the Broncos will also be local Goddard grad Deric Loving and Alamogordo grad Edward Schlenshig.
Coach Wiginton also coached Bronco football as the offensive coordinator under Dwight Burns and Lefty Stecklein in the 1990’s when the program was revived at NMMI starting in 1992.
NMMI Sports Press