A new year, but familiar results.
At least very early on.
The University of New Mexico men’s golf team, ranked 10th in the Golf Digest preseason collegiate poll, has grabbed the lead Sunday after 36 holes of the season-opening Gopher Invitational in Independence, Minn.
The Lobos shot a 3-under 565 (280-285) to grab a three-stroke lead over preseason No. 22 Kent State (289-279=568) in the 12 team tournament at the par-71 Windsong Farm Golf Club. Baylor (278-295=573) is third at 5 over, followed by preseason No. 2 California (291-283=574) at 6 over.
UNM won five of the 14 events it entered in 2012-13 en route to a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Championship in June. But only juniors Gavin Green and Victor Perez return from that team. The Lobos also had four runner-up finishes and made the top five in 13 of the 14 events.
Green, who was a third-team All-America selection last season, is in third place after Sunday’s first two rounds with a 4-under 138 (68-70). He trails co-leaders Nick Voke of Iowa State (70-67=137) and Corey Connors of Kent State (71-66=137) by a stroke. Both are at 5 under par.
Perez struggled on the front nine during round two and is tied for 22nd at 4-over 146 (70-76).
Sophomore Joe Abella was impressive during his first two rounds as part of the team’s starting lineup. He shot a par-71 to go with his earlier 2-under 69 and is tied for fifth place. Abella played in two tournaments for UNM in 2012-13, competing as an individual.
True freshman Andrej Bevins made his collegiate debut in promising fashion, putting together a 36-hole total of 3-over 145 (75-70) for an 18th-place tie. Junior Sean Romero (73-74=147) is tied for 27th.
The teams will finish the event with 18 holes today. A win would give UNM its third tournament victory in its last four events, going back to last season. A top-five finish would be the Lobos’ 26th in their last 29 events, dating to the 2011-12 season.
The final round gets underway at 6:45 a.m. MT Monday. The Lobos’ first tee time is set for 7:35 a.m.