Erkenbeck, Lobo Men's Golf Team 2nd in Hawaii
Feb. 15, 2012
The University of New Mexico men's golf team may be spending the week in Hawaii, but the Lobos are not on vacation.
Junior James Erkenbeck is tied for second place individually and 25th-ranked UNM also is in second place after Wednesday's first round of the John A. Burns Intercollege in Kahuku, Hawaii.
The Lobos shot a 14-under 274 on the Palmer Course at the Turtle Bay Resort and trail No. 10 California by four strokes. No. 15 and fellow Mountain West member UNLV is third after shooting a 10-under 278.
"We feel like we played a great round of golf today," Lobo coach Glen Millican said. "The fact that we're second - you've just got to tip your hat to California. You can't win a golf tournament in the first round, but you can make it hard on yourself if you start off slow. I feel pretty good about where we are."
Erkenbeck, who won this event in 2009 as a freshman (on another course), shot a 6-under 66 to pull into a three-way tie for second behind Duke's Julian Suri, who shot a 7-under 65. California's Joel Starter and Max Homa also shot 66s. Erkenbeck's round included an eagle, five birdies and a bogey.
"The eagle on the third hole was pretty awesome," Millican said. "He holed out with a wedge from about 65 or 75 yards out.
"James has been hitting the ball pretty well all year. It was good to see him get off to a good start."
Lobo freshman Victor Perez is tied for seventh after shooting a 4-under 68 Wednesday. He closed with birdies in three of his last four holes, including Nos. 17 and 18. Junior John Catlin, who won the Arizona Intercollegiate on Jan. 30-31, is tied for 12th with a 3-under 69. He also finished strong, birdieing his final two holes.
Freshmen Gavin Green and Sean Romero are tied for 22nd at 1-under 71. Sophomore Sam Saunders, who is competing as an individual and not included in the Lobo team scores, shot a 5-over 78 and is tied for 76th place.
"We got to play the golf course a couple of times, which really helped," said Millican, whose squad flew out on Saturday. "We've got to try prepare the same way tomorrow."
No. 17 Duke and SMU are tied for fourth at are tied for fourth with a 6-under 282. Colorado State, Nevada and Missouri are tied for sixth at 1-under 287, and 13th-ranked Texas A&M is ninth after shooting an even-par 288.
The second round continues today with the Lobos teeing off between 12:10-12:50 p.m., Mountain Time. Final-round action is scheduled for Friday.