Lobos Face Nation's Best at PING Golfweek Preview
Sept. 22, 2012
In Alpharetta, Ga., the 18th-ranked University of New Mexico men's golf team is about to play the same course that will be used for the NCAA Championships from May 28-June 2, 2013.
The Lobos, however, could be forgiven if they view the PING Golfweek Preview as a national championship tournament itself.
Fourteen of the 15 teams in the event are nationally ranked in Golfweek.com's preseason top-25, including the top seven teams - No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 California, No. 3 Texas, No. 4 and host Georgia Tech, No. 5 UCLA, No. 6 Washington and No. 7 Arkansas . Only San Diego State, the defending Mountain West champion, enters the field unranked.
"This event obviously will be a great experience for us in seeing how we match up against the nation's best teams," 12th-year Lobo coach Glen Millican said. "Our goal is the same as it is for every tournament; we want to go over there and win it.
"We're playing this course this weekend, and we have to figure out how to get back here (in May for the NCAA championships)."
The Lobos finished fifth in The Gopher Invitational from Sept. 9-10 in Wayzata, Minn. No. 2 California won the event, 33 strokes better than New Mexico. No. 7 Arkansas finished third and No. 13 Kent State came in fourth.
Kent State also is in this week's event on the Crabapple Course at the Capital City Club.
The Lobos will play the same five golfers who have competed together since the 2012 spring season started last January - seniors John Catlin and James Erkenbeck, and sophomores Gavin Green, Victor Perez and Sean Romero.
Perez had the best round among the UNM players at The Gopher Invitational, finishing tied for sixth with a 3-over par 219.
"We saw a lot of good things out of our team," Millican said of the season-opening event. "We struggled a little bit early but we're real happy with how they navigated out of trouble. It was a good starting point for us."
The Lobos will use the event to get ready for the William H. Tucker Intercollegiate at the UNM Championship Course next Friday-Saturday.