LOBO MEN’S GOLF (Updated 8:13 p.m. with quotes from coach Glen Millican)
Final top five: 1. UNM (281-282-285=848, -16); 2. Baylor (283-290-281=854. -10); T3 Southeastern Louisiana (288-285-290=863, -1); 4 Purdue (292-290-293=865, -4; T5 North Texas (292-291-283=866. +2); T5. Houston Baptist (296-296-274=866, +2).
Individual Leaders: 1 Gavin Green, UNM (71-73-77=210, -6 *wins sudden-death playoff on second hole) T1 Owen Taylor, Sacramento State (71-67-72=210, -6, counts in NCAA scoring as a win); T3 Sean Romero, UNM (74-68-69=211, -5); T3 Grade Brame, Southeastern Louisiana (67-71-73=211, -5); T3 . Niclas Mansson, Baylor (68-71-72=211, -5)
Other Lobos: T6 Joe Abella (75-68-69=212, -4); T8 Sam Saunders (69-71-73=213, -3); T12 Victor Perez , 67-60-77=214, -2); T59 Andrej Bevins (74-73-77=224, +8)
By Greg Archuleta
UNM Assistant Director of Communications
In San Antonio, Texas, Glen Millican was far more excited for junior Gavin Green and the University of New Mexico men’s golf team. His own milestone didn’t even register.
Green fired a 6-under 66 Tuesday to lead the 21st-ranked Lobos to a six-stroke victory at the Lone Star Invitational. Green also caught the field at 15-team event, then defeated Sacramento State’s Owen Taylor on the second hole of the sudden death playoff to capture his second individual championship of the season.
Green finished with a 6-under 210 (71-73-66) as the Lobos shot a 16-under 848 (281-282-285) to hold off No. 28 Baylor. The win was UNM’s third this season, its first since the William H. Tucker Intercollegiate at the UNM Championship Course in September.
The victory gave Millican, UNM’s 13th-year head coach, his 25th career team title.
“Right now, this is a good victory for this group,” Millican said, deflecting a question about the significance of team victory No. 25. “As a team, we didn’t play our best, but Gavin had a great round of golf and the rest of the guys hung in there. This shows them that they can be successful even if they’re not playing their best but are competing.”
Green, the No. 20 collegiate golfer in the latest Golfweek.com/Sagarin rankings, competed as well as anyone Tuesday, shooting his lowest round of the spring season to take home his first trophy since the Tucker in September. He won that one in a playoff as well, defeating teammate Andrej Bevins. He finished with seven birdies and a bogey and came back from a seven-stroke deficit after 36 holes to grab the win.
“Gavin really wasn’t playing bad; he just didn’t catch a lot of breaks,” Millican said. “But he really got it going and had it clicking today. He got a couple of putts to fall early, and that got his confidence going.”
Baylor shot a 10-under 854 (283-290-281 to finish second. Southeastern Louisiana (288-285-290=863, -1) was third, followed by No. 44 Purdue (292-280-293-865, +1) and North Texas (292-291-283=866, +2).
While Green had a fantastic round, two of his teammates had career-best finishes.
Junior Sean Romero tied for third place, finishing at 5-under 211 (74-68-69), one stroke behind Green and Taylor.
Sophomore Joe Abella, competing as an individual, tied for sixth with a 4-under 212 (75-68-69). His second-round score tied for the lowest of his UNM career.
The recent play of Romero and Abella has put them in strong consideration for the team roster when the Lobos play at the Mountain West Championship next month.
“It’s a really good feeling to know that we’ve had six players this year who are capable of scoring low for us,” Millican said.
Junior Sam Saunders also had another solid performance, finishing tied for eighth at 3-under 213 (68-71-73).
Junior Victor Perez and true freshman Bevins struggled in the last round. Perez, who was a co-leader after 36 holes, shot a 5-over 77, thanks largely to a triple bogey on No. 13, to finish at 2-under 214 (67-70-77) and a tie for 12th place – a good finish overall but a disappointment for Perez, who was seeking his first victory since the spring of 2012 when he was a freshman.
“Victor just never got comfortable with his round, and had a disaster on No. 13,” Millican said. “But he’ll be fine. Really, it was an awesome event that our top five guys finished within four strokes of each other.
Bevins also shot a 5-over 77 and tied for 59th at 8-over 224 (74-73-77).
The Lobos who finished three tournaments in 18 days, will have one more tournament before the postseason begins. They’ll play in the Insperity Augusta State Invitational, at Forest Hills in Augusta, Ga., on April 5-6.
The Mountain West Championship will take place April 25-27 in Tucson, Ariz.