Lobo Golf Men Rally To Capture NIT
March 17, 2013
By Greg Archuleta
UNM Assistant Director of Communications
TUCSON – This time, the Lobos didn’t need an incorrect scorecard to beat TCU.
The third-ranked University of New Mexico men’s golf team got final-round 69s Sunday from senior James Erkenbeck and Victor Perez to shoot a 9-under 279 and rally from a six-stroke deficit to win the Don Puckette National Invitational Tournament by one stroke over the eighth-ranked Horned Frogs.
The Lobos finished a season-best 20 under par (277-288-279=844) to capture their third victory of the season – their most since the 2004-05 season when they won four tournaments.
UNM was in third place starting Sunday’s final round, six strokes behind No. 13 Oklahoma State and five shots behind TCU at the Omni Tucson National Golf Club. The Horned Frogs (279-281-285=845) had the lead most of the day but couldn’t hold on to the lead. The Cowboys finished third (276-283-293=852) at 13 under in the 16-team field after shooting a 5-over final round.
The Lobos and Horned Frogs were battling for the Arizona Intercollegiate crown, ironically in Tucson as well, at the end of January. That was at the Golf Club at Vistoso.
TCU appeared headed for the victory when one of its players signed an incorrect scorecard. Instead of a one-stroke win over the Lobos, the Horned Frogs lost three shots, and UNM won the tournament by two strokes.
Sunday’s win was the 20th for the Lobos under Millican, who is in his 12th year as head coach. He now trails UNM’s all-time leader, Dick McGuire, by eight career tournament wins. This season, UNM also won its own William H. Tucker Intercollegiate in September, shooting a previous season-best 15 under par.
Perez’s second straight 69 gave him a 6-under 210 (72-69-69) for the tournament, good for a third-place tie and two strokes behind TCU’s Julien Brun, who earned medalist honors with an 8-under 208 (68-65-75). Brun, however, shot 3 over in Sunday’s final round, opening the door for the Lobos to capture the team event.
Senior John Catlin, who shot an opening-round 8-under but followed that with a 4-over in the second round Saturday, rebounded nicely with a 1-under 71 Sunday to finish in a tie for seventh at 5-under 211 (64-76-71).
Sophomore Sean Romero, competing as an individual, tied for 44th (73-75-73=221) at 7 over in the 89-player field.