Lobo Men's Golf Team Finishes Fourth in Hawaii
Feb. 17, 2012
University of New Mexico men's golf team Glen Millican knows his team squandered a golden opportunity.
Ten strokes behind 10th-ranked California entering Friday's final round of the John A. Burns Intercollegiate in Kahuku, Hawaii, the 25th-ranked Lobos received solid play early from their freshmen trio of Victor Perez, Gavin Green and Sean Romero to close that gap to seven strokes midway through the round.
But normally reliable juniors James Erkenbeck and John Catlin both had poor rounds, and instead of improving upon its third-place standing going into the third round, 25th-ranked UNM shot a 1-over 289 and dropped to a fourth-place finish on the Palmer Course on the Turtle Bay Resort.
Cal won the event despite shooting a 3-over 291 Friday to finish with a 54-hole, 17-under score. No. 15 UNLV and No. 17 Duke tied for second at 10 under - UNLV finishing with a 3-under 285 and Duke a 2-under 296 on Friday. UNM finished at 9-under par, one stroke ahead of No. 13 Texas A&M.
"We were there in a position to win," Lobo coach Glen Millican said. "Our veteran guys just struggled today. James just didn't putt the ball very well. John had a very uncharacteristic nine holes; that was something we hadn't seen all year.
"The freshmen did a really good job today."
UNM's rookie threesome combined to go 2-under in the final round. Victor Perez shot a 3-under 69, nine strokes better than his second-round score, to finish tied for 13th at 1-under 215. Sean Romero's 72 put him in that 13th-place logjam as well and Gavin Green shot a 1-over 73 to exit with a 3-over 219 for 54 holes.
But after an opening-round 66, Erkenbeck shot a 75 in his final round and was 5 over during his last 36 holes. Catlin, who was 1 under for the round and 4 under for the tournament after nine holes Friday, played the last nine holes at 9 over par.
Erkenbeck tied for 13th at 1-under and Catlin fell to a tie for 35th with a 4-over 220.
Sophomore Sam Saunders, competing as an individual, shot a 7-over 79 Friday to finish 13 over for the tournament and tie for 67th.
"We lost to three pretty good teams, and we beat a couple good teams," Millican said. "John and James aren't going to play great every round, "but by the same token, they're not going to play bad every round, either. I think the freshmen made real progress, and we're just going to continue to work to get better. I thought overall we still played better than we did in the Arizona Intercollegiate (where the Lobos shot 2 under for the tournament and finished third)."
New Mexico next plays at the North Ranch Intercollegiate in Westlake, Calif., from Feb. 27-28.