Since taking over the program in 1996, Chavez has restored the Wranglers into a national powerhouse, but few OC players took the Wranglers to the heights of his most recent sophomore quartet.
All four were NJCAA All-Americans while Blomme won six tournaments with the Wranglers and Hole claimed three more in his two years. Together, the sophomore group won 10 team tournament championships for OC, highlighted by the national title in May.
Chavez said he gets asked often what his best team ever was and points out the 2004 team went perfect through the season, winning every tournament and dominating the national championship. But he said these players made an impact because of their resilience and the way they battled through adversity all year.
"I think this group stands out because they did it as freshmen and did it as sophomores," the OC coach said. "When you have four guys that perform, it just brings a more relaxed atmosphere. They know their teammates will be right around par every time."
Blomme, from Kungsangen, Sweden, was the top player for the Wranglers during the past two seasons and led OC with a second-place finish at the national championship.
"Adam came in with a great junior record," Chavez said of Blomme, who will tee it up at Texas Tech next fall. "He came in and was the No. 1 player right off the bat. He pretty much took that and held it for two years. I can count on one hand how many times he wasn't in the top 20."
Hole, who came to Odessa from France, was described as the glue guy by Chavez and was the more lighthearted one in the group.
"He has just as much talent and he's kind of a carefree golfer," Chavez said. "We just keep him focused and stick to the game plan and find a good strategy that fits his style. He has a winning attitude. He's usually in a good mood and pumps everyone up. At nationals, he's the one pumping everyone up before we go."
Hole will be heading to the Mountain West Conference and play for New Mexico in the fall.
"I think it is going to be great and I can't wait. I am looking forward to win a national championship," Hole said. "Being in America is such a great experience for me."
Thomas, a Las Vegas resident, finished third in the national championship and Chavez noted that he had improved in the way he prepared for a golf tournament.
"He's just as talented as they come," Chavez said. "After his two years here, he's a more mature golfer and he's learned how to attack the course. It wasn't just bust driver every hole. Short game was his strength. He's probably the kid that matured the most because of the things we did course management wise."
Thomas, who will return to his home state and play for Nevada the next two years, mentioned how great it was to play for OC and build relationships with his teammates and the community.
"It's very special for me to play with those guys and finishing it up was cool the national championship," Thomas said. "Odessa helped a lot. They always had out back and support. The four sophomores learned and pushed each day in and day out."
Lewis rounded out the group and finished fourth in the national championship for OC. Chavez said that performance played a large role in the Wranglers winning the title.
"He wasn't a superstar, but was a perfect four or five man," Chavez said. "That's what you need at this level. He's capable of shooting low rounds. He battled some injuries and had a nagging back injury in the spring, and luckily for us, he was up for the national championship. The way he finished was the main reason we won."
Lewis will travel out to Austin in the fall to play for St. Edward's University, and he believed the bond the four sophomores forged the past two years was paramount to why the team ended the year at the top.
"I think the main reason we achieved our goal was because of our team chemistry," Lewis said. "There was nothing in this world that could bring us apart. We saw each other as a family and played the tournament with our hearts. Each one of us knew that if something went wrong on the course, the others would have our backs. We finished on top because we were stronger than any other team on the mental side."
Article by Joshua Perry OA