Lobo Golf Men Tie for Runner-Up Honors at ASU Thunderbird

April 7, 2012

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In Tempe, Ariz., the final step for Golfweek.com’s 19th-ranked University of New Mexico men’s team could be learning to finish. Once that happens, the Lobos may be on the verge of a big finish this season.

Freshman Victor Perez was on his way to the low round of the day during the final round of the ASU Thunderbird Invitational on Saturday. After an eagle on No. 17, Perez need a par to finish with a 6-under 65 and give the Lobos sole possession of second place in the tournament. Perez, however, double-bogeyed the 18th hole, and UNM finished tied with No. 13 San Diego State for second  – eight strokes behind the ASU Thunderbird champion, sixth-ranked California.

The Bears shot a final-round 10-under-par 274 at the par-71 ASU Karsten Course and finished with a 17-under 835 (276-285-274) to topple the 17-team field. The Lobos fired a 6-under 278 Saturday to finish at 9-under 843 (289-276-278), moving up from third place after Friday’s 36 holes.

The Aztecs, the event’s second-round leader,  shot a 2-over 286 to tie the Lobos at 843 (282-275-286). No. 11 UNLV finished fourth with a 2-under 850 (285-285-280) and ninth-ranked Washington was fifth with a 4-over 856 (284-284-288). New Mexico finished ahead the Rebels for the first time three tries this season.

The runner-up effort was the third of the year for UNM, which also has one victory – at the Lone Star Invitational in San Antonio, Texas, last October – and extended the Lobos' streak of top-five finishes to 11 -- all the tournaments they've entered in 2011-12. 

New Mexico was in eighth place after Friday’s first round. 

UNM was on its way to the low round during the second 18 holes on Friday when freshman Gavin Green, who was 3-under through 16 holes, finished bogey-double bogey to allow the Aztecs to get low-round honors by one stroke. 

Junior John Catlin was the Lobos’ top individual, finishing the tournament at 4-under 209 to tie for eighth place (71-66-72).  Perez, who was tied with Catlin going into the 18th hole, ended up at 2-under for the tournament (74-70-67) to tie for 16th

Junior James Erkenbeck (73-69-70 = 212) finished alone in 19th at 1-under. Green shot a 5-over 76 in the final-round to finish with a 5-over 218 (71-71-76). Freshman Sean Romero, however, picked up his team with a 2-under 69 to count in the final-round scoring. His 219 score (77-73-69) was good for a tie for 33rd place. 

Senior Alex Estrada, competing as an individual, finished tied for 68th at 15 over (74-76-78). 

The Lobos, sure to move up in both the Golfweek.com and Golfstat.com rankings (No. 16), will finish the regular season at the Aggie Invitational on April 21-22 in Bryan, Texas.