Lobos Bear Down To Capture Arizona Intercollegiate
UNM conquers top-ranked Cal, benefits from TCU error
Feb. 5, 2013
In Tucson, the Lobos had enough of feeding the Bears.
The fourth-ranked University of New Mexico men's golf team won their second golf tournament of the 2012-13 season Tuesday, capturing the spring-season opener at the Arizona Intercollegiate.
In the process, UNM handed top-ranked California its first tournament loss this season. The Bears had won all five of its fall tournaments, finishing once as co-champion.
The Lobos posted a 3-under 281 in Tuesday's final round and finished the 54-hole, 15-team event with an 8-under 544 (285-278-281). Hard-luck TCU (280-282-284=846) was second at 6 under after signing an incorrect scorecard, and the Bears (281-284-282=847) finished third at 5 under.
"California is a great team, so to be the first team to beat them this year is special," coach Glen Millican said. "We didn't do anything on the course that we hadn't done before, but we did finish great. That was the difference in winning and just having a good finish."
UNM scored 6 under in its final five holes as a team, with the top four scores among each team's five players counting toward the team totals.
The Lobos entered the final round in second place, one stroke behind the Horned Frogs. The teams had to complete the second round this morning after darkness halted play Monday night before the round was completed.
The Bears, who have five players ranked in the Golfweek.com/Sagarin Top-50 individual poll, had co-individual medalists in Michael Kim and Joel Stalter at 9-under 204 at The Golf Club at Vistoso, a par-71 course.
UNM, however, was the only school with four players in the top 20 of the 92-player field. Senior James Erkenbeck (68-71-68=207) tied for third at 5 under. Sophomore Victor Perez (71-67-70=206) finished alone in sixth place.
"James just played good from start to finish," Millican said. "He eagled the last hole of the second round, and that kind of got him going in the final round. Victor was hot in the second round, and then he started slow in the third. But he stayed patient, and things opened up for him on the back nine."
Sophomore Gavin Green (75-70-70) tied for 14th at 2 over and senior John Catlin (71-72-73) tied for 18th at 3-over 216. Senior Benjamin Bauch (76-70-74=220) tied for 28th at 7 over but contributed toward the team score with his 1-under 70 in the second round.
"It's awesome when all your players, from top to bottom, contribute," Millican said. "It shows that we're not just riding one guy. We've had days, rounds, tournaments where one guy struggles, but we've got four other guys that can pick up the slack."
The team title was UNM's 19th under Millican, who's in his 12th year, and second of the season. The Lobos also won their home William H. Tucker Intercollegiate by a whopping 29 strokes in September.
UNM's results Tuesday, however, benefited from a bad break for the Horned Frogs. TCU initially came in with a 10-under 842, but one of its players signed an incorrect scorecard, and that cost the Frogs four strokes - and the tournament win.
"I feel bad for coach (Bill) Montigel and TCU," Millican said. "That's not a fun way for the tournament to end, but (signing a scorecard) is part of the deal.
"But TCU is a lot better team than people know. They're not ranked because they only played one team tournament in the fall."
Lobo sophomore Sean Romero (77-70-73=220), who competed as an individual, was among the 28th-place finishers with Bauch at 7 over. Senior Ryan Barry (74-79-76) and freshman Joseph Abella (81-73-75) tied for 68th at 16-over 229.
UNM next will play at the John Burns Intercollegiate in Turtle Bay, Hawaii from Feb. 20-22.