Mayor and UTSA coach on hand to celebrate the golf champion
The sign said it all: “Home of Zander Lozano 108th Texas Amateur Champion.” A crowd gathered around the massive H.L Edwards Trophy, the prestigious honor for each year’s winner of the “Championship of Texas for Men,” as it was known during its first event in 1906. The award is named after the first winner of the award who just happened to be the “Father of Golf in Texas.”
Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas is known for its beautiful scenery, friendly community, and notable golf and country club. On Friday, those three qualities came together to celebrate the historic win of Zander Lozano, the 21-year-old University of Texas San Antonio junior who won the Texas Amateur open in June.
“I am proud to say that Fair Oaks will now also be known at the home of Zander Lozano,” Fair Oaks Golf Director Phil Wiese said as he unveiled new signage that will be posted on “The Ranch.”
A beaming crowd showed up on the Oak Leaf Patio as Fair Oaks General Manager Paul Bimler welcomed the attendees. He introduced Golf Instructor Scott Johnson who served as the Master of Ceremonies to honor Lozano.
Johnson raised his hand lower than chest level to show he remembered “Zander as this young kid who didn’t really take to golf too much when he was just this high,” then pointed to the trophy. Lozano’s name is now engraved on the coveted honor along with respected golfers such as Ben Crenshaw, Scott Verplank, Mark Brooks, Bob Estes and Brad Elder.
“I am honored. The names on that trophy are men who won so many tournaments and even the Masters.”
Among the congregation of proud well-wishers were Lozano’s parents Omar and Cheryl Lozano, his brothers Logan and Elliott, classmates, neighbors and friends. A supportive UTSA Head Coach John Knauer and wife Jennifer celebrated with the crowd. After Fair Oaks Ranch Mayor Garry Manitaz presented a proclamation plaque to Lozano, Johnson facilitated a question-answer session with onlookers.
“It’s been a few weeks now and I think it is just beginning to set in now,” Lozano replied to one question. “I am honored. The names on that trophy are men who won so many tournaments and even the Masters.”
On the last day of competition, a former Boerne Champion High School friend, Josh Dedmon, rushed to see Lozano before he teed off on the first hole. “I saw all these other players there with caddys and noticed Zander didn’t have one so I asked his mother if I could caddy for him.”
Little did Dedmon know that Cheryl Lozano had been “hounding me to get a caddy,” the amatuer golf champion of Texas recalled. “She came out and asked me if Josh could caddy. I said ‘bring him on.’ It turned out well because it helped me keep my composure during that final round. I am very focused and keep my head turn down and here comes Josh walking beside me asking ‘what do you want to go eat after you finish’? It helped me relax and not think about golf while we’re walking. Then I would get back on my golf focus when it was time for the shot. It worked out very well.”
“It was a great, great gift for him to win.”
Lozano’s father, Omar arguably had the brightest grin of the day. Recalling how he was unable to go to Dallas for the open, he said he was on “pins and needles” and “kept thinking of things to do because I couldn’t sit still. It was a great, great gift for him to win.”
Lozano took the lead in the tournament that Sunday, Father’s Day, by shooting a 4-under-par 67 to place his weekend total to 10-under-par and claim the Edwards trophy.
Lozano recently told reporters he “actually did not like golf at all when I was younger. My dad would take me out to Fair Oaks and I’d drive the cart around but I wasn’t trying to hit balls around.” One day they “brought out the clubs we had in the garage and started hitting around and one of my friends was hitting it really high and I wasn’t able to do that so I said I want to figure out how to do that. So I went to the range and started doing it and just got hooked.”
UTSA Coach Knauer said they were very excited to know Lozano decided on UTSA. “He was recruited by a lot of schools. Once we all saw him we said this guy’s going to do nothing but get better because he just had a lot of natural ability.”
In his three years at UTSA Lozano has won two tournaments and finished in the top five in three other tournaments. Knauer says Lozano’s club speed has been clocked at 121 miles per hour. “Dustin Johnson (on the PGA tour) swings at 124 MPH and Zander was swinging at 121 without any effort,” Knauer said.
“It is an honor that you showed up here today. My family, my friends, all of you.”
Lozano recently played in the North-South Amateur in Pinehurst, North Carolina. By winning the Texas State Open he now qualifies for the U.S. Amateur.
“After my senior year at UTSA I want to turn professional,” Lozano said. “I hope to obtain sponsorships to make it happen.”
When asked about the highlight of the win, Lozano promptly answered, “This is the highlight. It is an honor that you showed up here today. My family, my friends, all of you. Thank you very much. I would like to especially thank our Director of Golf here, Phil Wiese, and Berny Wise our Head Golf Professional; Paul Bimler our General Manager. Thanks to Scott Johnson and Chuck Ellenwood for organizing this event. Thank you.”
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