UNM's John Catlin Wins Ping Arizona Intercollegiate with Final Round 67

Feb. 1, 2012

TUCSON, Ariz. - Lobo John Catlin started the day two shots out of the lead.  After a sizzling four-under 67, he was comfortably in front when the Ping Arizona Intercollegiate ended, giving him his first individual title of the season.  His teammates were right on pace as well and UNM shot the low round of the day with an 8-under 276 to finish in third place behind Arizona and California.

Catlin's championship marked his fifth top-10 finish of the year. Ironically his only finish outside the top 10 was an 11th place finish at the William H. Tucker Invitational. The 67 was the second time in a row he closed a tournament with a 67, doing so at the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate in the final fall tournament. Catlin, who entered the weekend ranked 15th according to Golfstat, now has shot six straight round under par, and 10 of his last 11 have been par or better.

"I'm really happy for John," said head coach Glen Millican. "He's been close a few times this year, in addition to other times in his career. He's playing really well. He had a good fall, and he played well over the break in a tournament. Everybody was excited to see John do that."

Catlin was the epitome of steady, shooting a bogey free four-under. He opened his round with a birdie on the par-4 first hole, and then picked up birdies on holes 7, 11, and 15. Catlin held off Juan Pablo Hernandez of Arizona, who was two shots back heading to the final 18th hole, a par-5 513 yard hole where an eagle and a tie was not out of the question. Hernandez however, bogeyed the hole, which while hurting his individual chances, was enough to give Arizona the team title by one shot over California. UNM was 15 shots off the pace, making up five from yesterday.

Catlin led a parade of Lobos in red numbers, as James Erkenbeck shot a 69 to sneak into a top-5 finish, finishing at 209, six shots behind Catlin. Victor Perez and Gavin Green rebounded from a poor opening day to post 1-under 70s, and Sean Romero checked in with a 73. That 73 might have been one of the more amazing results of the day.

Romero opened his round with a quad and a bogey to sit five over after three, and heading into his final five holes he was seven over. However, Romero went birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie down the stretch to card his 73.

Said Millican of Romero's effort, "Sean's score didn't count in the team results, but started 5-over through three, and was sitting at 7-over. To end up just 2-over was a great finish for him, and should give him a ton of confidence."

Erkenbeck played a bit up and down with six birdies and four bogeys, but after sitting in 10th after day one, his second straight 2-under 69 put him in a tie for fifth place. He birdied three of his final seven holes on the day.

"James's play this week is a continuation of the fall. He hasn't had everything come together yet the way he wants it to in a tournament, but doing enough to be in the thick of things." Millican added, "I'm sure it will come together for him and he will win a tournament. But having two guys finish in the top five against such good competition bodes well for us."

Nothing however can please a coach quite like finishing a tournament with the low round of the day, and for Millican, seeing his 25th ranked Lobos pull that trick off was good to see out of the opening spring tournament.

"Well, we had the low round of the day, always makes me happy lowest round on the last day," said Millican. "You always want to finish a golf tournament as well as you can... you would like to do that to win, but all we could do is play as well as we could."

Millican added, "It was good to see Victor and Gavin go 1-under. That's how they played last fall. All in all we had a pretty good finish."