Lobos' Hopes for NCAA Championship Invite To Come Down to Wire
May 17, 2013
Team Leaderboard: T1. South Carolina (288-296) and UNLV (292-292), 16-over 584; T3. Auburn (593-593) and Stanford (291-295), 18-over 586; T5. New Mexico (294-293) and Texas Tech (299-288); 19-over 587; 7. Missouri (294-301), 27-over 595; T8. Charlotte (287-309) and San Francisco (297-299), 28-over 596; 10. Virginia (303-294), 29-over 597; 11. Chattanooga (304-294), 30-over 298; 12. Georgia Southern (298-308), 38-over 606; 13. Valparaiso 309-308), 39-over 617
Individual Leader: Carl Johnson, UNLV, 2-under 140 (68-72)
Lobo scores: James Erkenbeck, even-par 142 (72-70), fourth place; John Catlin, 2-over 144 (75-69), tied for sixth; Gavin Green, 7-over 149 (71-78), tied for 25th; Victor Perez, 10-over 152 (76-76), tied for 45th; Benjamin Bauch, 17-over 159 (81-78), 71st
By Greg Archuleta
UNM Assistant Director of Communications
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Get ready for another dramatic NCAA Regional finish for the University of New Mexico men's golf team.
After Friday's second round, the fifth-ranked Lobos nearly are as close to winning the NCAA Regional at The Ohio State University Golf Course as they are to missing an automatic qualification to the NCAA Championship.
Thanks to strong rounds by seniors James Erkenbeck and John Catlin, the Lobos shot a 9-over 293 during Friday's second round of the Columbus Regional to move into a tie for fifth place with Texas Tech at 19-over 587 after 36 holes, just three strokes off the lead.
The top five teams among the field of 13 move on to the championship round in Alpharetta, Ga., beginning May 28. Should two or more teams tie for fifth, a playoff would ensue to determine who would advance.
"The interesting thing about this course is that it sets itself up to be bunched up because there's not a lot of birdie opportunities," UNM coach Glen Millican said. "So when you have a bunch of good times and a difficult course, you can see why so many teams have a chance to win."
No. 23 South Carolina (as ranked by Golfweek.com) and fellow Mountain West brethren UNLV (No. 30) are second-round co-leaders at 16-over 584. South Carolina shot an 11-over 295 on Friday. UNLV moved up from fourth with a second straight 292. Stanford (11-over 295 Friday), the nation's 10th-ranked team, is tied with No. 19 Auburn (9-over 293) for third at 18-over 586.
The Red Raiders moved into contention with a 4-over 288 during the second round, the low team score of the day. No. 32 Missouri is seventh at 27-over (294-301=595).
First-round leader Charlotte was 22 strokes worse Friday than it was on Thursday and sits in eighth at 28-over 596 (287-309).
UNM is trying to erase the memories of finishing sixth in the 2012 NCAA Regional in Athens, Ga., one stroke behind fifth-place Iowa. In 2009, the Lobos finished sixth in the NCAA Regional in Daly City, Calif., one stroke higher than USC.
New Mexico has not participated in the NCAA Championship since 2007.
None of that matters, Millican said.
"Everybody in the field wants to move on, regardless of what's happened before," he said. "We're in a position to advance; we're in a position to win the tournament. All of that other stuff is just distractions. None of what happened last year has anything to do with how we're going to play tomorrow."
"Everybody in the field wants to move on, regardless of what's happened before. We're in a position to advance; we're in a position to win the tournament. All of that other stuff is just distractions. None of what happened last year has anything to do with how we're going to play tomorrow."
Glen Millican, UNM men's golf coach
Catlin posted a 2-under 69 on Friday to move into the top 10 in the individual standings after 36 holes. He is 2 over for the tournament (75-69=144). Erkenbeck shot a 1-under 70 and is tied for fourth at even-par 142 (72-70).
"It's not surprising that John and James stepped up," Millican said, "but really at this point, it doesn't matter where the low numbers come from."
UNLV's Carl Johnson is the individual leader at 2-under 140 after shooting a 1-over 72 Friday.
Perez triple-bogeyed the 18th hole (UNM started on the 10th hole Friday) which pushed his score to a 5-over 76 for a second straight round. He's tied for 46th at 10-over 152.
Green double-bogeyed No. 6 (his 15th hole of the day), giving him a 7-over 78 in the second round. His 7-over 149 (71-78) leaves him tied for 27th place.
Senior Benjamin Bauch managed to improve his first-round score by three strokes but still is 72nd in the 75-player field at 17-over 159 (81-78).
The Lobos had to count one of the 78s as part of their team score Friday.
"In a perfect world, you'd play your two best round of the year and have a big cushion going into the final round," Millican said. "But we're in position to win if we have a great round tomorrow. We've been in this situation several times this year, and that experience is something our guys can draw from.
"We've just got to go out and play our best and let the rest take care of itself."