May 18, 2017
By Cassie Logan | UTAMavs.com
Irving, TEXAS -- UTA director of golf Stuart Deane shot even par in the first round of the AT&T Byron Nelson Thursday, his second even par 70 in the nine rounds he has played at this event throughout his professional career.
Behind him every step of the way was a mass of energy and support that made it feel as though he alone had the home course advantage. UTA athletics staff, friends, family, men's and women's golf student-athletes, and clients and associates of The Deane Team bolstered a crowd that amassed more than 125 spectators at one point.
When Deane completed his round, UTA was first to greet him. It caught the attention of many that he had rounded up so many supporters from the Arlington community, and put into perspective the kind of familial bond the program shares.
"We had the whole crew out and it was fun," Deane said. "Having friends, family, work colleagues and the school support was amazing. It's awesome to walk along and see faces you know, even faces you haven't seen in a while. It was so familiar."
It was even a Maverick who walked side-by-side with Deane through his 18 holes. Senior Zach Galliford was a freshman when Deane began as a volunteer coach for the Mavs. Four years later, the two are sharing an experience that has bettered both as golfers.
For Deane, the two have grown together so much, the language they speak on the course comes naturally. Their approaches to the game fall on the same wavelength, and Galliford in turn received exposure to PGA TOUR talent.
"It was great from the course management point of view," Galliford said. "The thought process on shots and having to know so many different numbers. It was great seeing up close what it takes to be on the PGA TOUR. A lot to learn, but it was a fun day."
Galliford said it was nearly effortless to stay on track throughout the day with the persistent cheering and words of encouragement from a crowd with so many familiar faces. Whether a birdie putt or struggling to make par, the Maverick said it gave a boost in morale, especially needed on the back nine.
Not only was it a strong push for the duo in the tournament, but the support cemented the idea that UTA and the Arlington community strive to support its members, even reaching beyond athletics. It's reassurance that those involved will always commit to one another in an effort to reach excellence.
"We had a great contingency and fans out here," UTA Director of Athletics Jim Baker said. "It was great watching Stu hit even par, always smooth, never nervous, like it was just another day in the office. He's in front on local TV cameras, so it's great for us, great for him and hopefully we get another round tomorrow and keep playing this weekend."
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