Lobo Men's Golfers Have Busy Spring Break

March 10, 2012

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It may be spring break at the University of New Mexico, but it’s still a busy time for the Lobo men’s golf team.

UNM, No. 21 nationally in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin Ratings, heads to Pawley Islands, S.C. this weekend to play in the 15-team General Hackler Invitational on Sunday and Monday at the DeBordieu Golf Club.

The Lobos then will travel straight from South Carolina to Austin, Texas, to play in the Morris Williams Intercollegiate on Friday and Saturday.

“The good thing for us is we get to play two tournaments over the next week, and we only miss one day of school,” coach Glen Millican said of the team’s travel plans to leave Albuquerque on Friday. “That will allow our guys to focus in and play a lot of competitive golf.”

Because the Lobos won’t return home before the two tournaments, they will take the same team to both events. Juniors John Catlin and James Erkenbeck and freshmen Gavin Green, Victor Perez and Sean Romero will comprise UNM’s team. Junior Benjamin Bauch will play both events as an individual competitor.

The Lobos were able to play a practice round today at the DeBordieu Golf Club in preparation for Sunday’s event. No one on the current UNM squad has played in the General Hackler Invite, and the last time UNM participated in the event, it was held on a different course (TPC at Myrtle Beach).

Coastal Carolina is the host school for the event, in which the teams will play 36 holes Sunday and 18 on Monday.

“This will be a new experience for everyone,” Millican said, “so it’s really hard to know what to expect until we get there.”

The Lobos can expect to see defending national champion Augustana State in South Carolina, along with ninth-ranked Arkansas and No. 17 North Florida.

Top-50 individuals competing include No. 19 Sean Dale of North Florida, 28th-ranked Ethan Tracy of Arkansas, and Catlin, who’s No. 30.

Catlin, Victor Perez and Sean Romero all tied for seventh place at the North Ranch Intercollegiate in Westlake, Calif., on Feb. 27-28. The finish was a career-best for Perez, who has played in all eight UNM events this season, and Romero, who broke into the Lobos’ top five and has competed in three events this spring.

The Lobos then will get to test their mettle against the nation’s top team in Austin. No. 1 Texas, the host school for the Morris Williams Intercollegiate. The Longhorns have the nation’s top two players in Jordan Spieth and Dylan Frittelli; they have not lost a tournament in which Spieth has played (five events).

“That will be a huge test for us,” Millican said. “Texas has really set themselves apart. And the course will be similar to what we’ll see in the conference tournament and the NCAAs, if we get that far, so it’ll be a good experience for us.”

The field for the Morris Williams has yet to be announced.

After the week’s events, the Lobos will return home for a 2½-week break before their next tournament in April.