No. 4 Lobo Golf Men Ready for Spring Opener
Jan. 25, 2013
Up Next: No. 4 Lobo Men's Golf at the Arizona Intercollegiate
Site: Tucson, Ariz.
Course: The Golf Club at Vistoso (Par 71, 6,932 yards)
Field: 15 teams, including No. 1 California, No. 18 Liberty
Lobo Field: Benjamin Bauch, John Catlin, James Erkenbeck, Gavin Green, Victor Perez
Lobo Individuals: Joseph Abella, Ryan Barry, Sean Romero
When you’re the fourth-ranked team in the country coming off a three-month break, the thought of returning to competition can be pretty exciting.
Coach Glen Millican’s University of New Mexico men’s golf team – No. 4 in the Golfweek.com/Sagarin poll and No. 5 in Golfstat.com -- acknowledges his team is anxious is return to the links when it travels to Tucson, Ariz., to play in the Arizona Intercollegiate on Monday and Tuesday.
But, Millican says, UNM can’t let that excitement alter the routine it used during the fall season that led to its national status.
“Our seniors do a great job of keeping everybody thinking the right way,” Millican said. “We try to approach each tournament the same way because that’s what gives us the best chance each time out.”
The Lobos are coming off a fall season in which they have one title team victory – their own William H. Tucker Intercollegiate – and two second-place finishes in their last three events. Millican does admit that the rankings – based on performance – have benefited his players.
“Nobody has to tell our guys that they’re capable of playing well,” he said. “They know if they play well, they have a chance to win every tournament we’re in.”
When the team reconvened for the spring semester on Jan. 14, the Albuquerque weather was less than ideal for golf. But that didn’t deter the Lobos from getting ready for the Tucson event.
“The first few days back it was really cold out here,” Millican said. “But they were out here on their own, chipping, putting, using our facility. They put a lot of energy getting back to their routines.”
The Lobos finished third at last year’s Arizona Intercollegiate, but John Catlin had a memorable 48 hours, shooting 10-under to win the event by three strokes. It was his first career victory.
Unfortunately, this year’s Arizona event isn’t on the same course – although Catlin is the one Lobo that has played The Golf Club at Vistoso, the site of the event that begins Monday with a shotgun start at 8 a.m.
Seniors James Erkenbeck, currently the No. 29 individual collegian in the nation, and Benjamin Bauch, and sophomores Gavin Green (No. 36) and Victor Perez will join Catlin for the team portion in Tucson. Senior Ryan Barry, sophomore Sean Romero and freshman Joseph Abella will compete as individuals; their scores will not count on the Lobo team score.
UNM will be the second highest ranked team at the event. Top-ranked California, which has yet to lose in five events, headlines the 15-team field. Liberty University, No. 18 in the Golfweek.com/Sagarin rankings, is the only other Top-25 team in the field.
California has five players ranked in the top 38 of Golfweek/Sagarin individual poll. While the Lobos are excited to return to play, the prospect of playing against the truly Golden Bears adds to the buildup.
“Our guys know they’re there,” Millican says. “We’re going to see them four or five more times this season. They do want to beat Cal. But to do that, our guys know they have to take care of their own business. It’s motivating to play a great team, but we’re motivated for a lot of reasons.”