March 22, 2010
MARANA, Ariz. --- The University of New Mexico men's golf team continued its run at the Calloway Collegiate Match Play Championship Monday, first beating 26th-ranked San Diego and then capping off the day by knocking off reining NCAA Champions and fourth-ranked Texas A&M.
The Lobos won both matches 3-2, with both coming down to the closing holes. Waiting for New Mexico in Tuesday morning's championship match is 13th-ranked and eighth-seeded Southern California, winners over TCU, Stanford and Colorado State. The Lobos and Trojans tee off at 9 a.m. (MT).
New Mexico, seeded 15th entering the Calloway match play, has beaten three consecutive higher seeds to get to the title match. Washington was seeded No. 2, San Diego No. 10 and Texas A&M No. 3. The Lobos are the lowest seeded team ever to advance to the championship match.
"Both of today's matches came down to the last hole," New Mexico coach Glen Millican said. "Our guys did a great job of hanging in there all day and giving themselves a chance to win at the end. Hopefully we'll continue to play well and give ourselves a chance to do it again tomorrow."
New Mexico, which ironically dropped in ranking from 47th to 52nd this morning, has now beaten the sixth, 26th and fourth-ranked teams in succession over the past two days.
Erkenbeck (No. 1), Ross (No. 2) and John Catlin (No. 3) pulled down the Lobos' three wins against the Aggies. Catlin cinched the win over A&M, knocking off Jordan Russell on the final hole of the match.
The Lobos punched their ticket to the championship match late, coming back with three wins after surrendering the first two matches. New Mexico scored its three wins in the No. 1, 2 and 3 matches, with Catlin's final hole of the day deciding the match.
After leading 2-up with three holes to play against Russell, Catlin surrendered two straight holes and had to hold on to pull off the match. The freshman got up-and-down from a greenside bunker to save par and win the final hole, sending the Lobos into the championship match.
"Winning that hole was pretty crucial," Catlin said. "I'm really, really happy to have been able to pull it off."
"Catlin was able to hold on," Ross said of his teammate. "We're all proud of him. He did a great job. That's a pretty high-pressure situation for him to be in, but he handled it."
Erkenbeck beat Andrea Pavin, 2 and 1, in the No. 1 match. Ross beat Cameron Peck 2 and 1 as well. Pavan (No. 22), Russell (No. 50) and Peck (No. 52) are all currently ranked in the top 60 in Golfweek's men's individual rankings. Erkenbeck, the Lobos' highest-ranked individual, is No. 131.
Ross said he knew the Lobos were in for a fight when Peck and Pavin both sunk their approach shots on the third hole of the match.
"Those guys were pretty fired up," Ross said. "Erk and I both knew we were going to play some really good golf if we were going to advance."
Ross was down a hole with two holes to go, birdied the next hole to tie the match up and found himself with a 30-foot putt to win the final hole and the match.
Ross' putt hit the back of the cup and rimmed out, leaving him only a couple of feet for a par. The miss gave McCready, facing an 8-foot putt, an opportunity to tie the match. The Torero's putt missed its mark, Ross made the short remnant of his missed 30-footer, and the Lobos were off to the semifinals.
The match-play event takes place at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain and is hosted by the University of Arizona.
Live scoring is available at Golfstat.com, with daily recaps and full stats available at GoLobos.com.
THE FIELD - In seeded order (Golfweek/Sagarin men's collegiate golf team national ranking as of March 14, 2010): Stanford (No. 2), Washington (No. 6), Texas A&M (No. 4), Arizona State (No. 15), UCLA (No. 7), UNLV (No. 11), Texas Tech (No. 16), Southern California (No. 14), TCU (No. 17), San Diego (No. 25), Middle Tennessee (No. 29), Colorado State (No. 32), Iowa (No. 41), Arizona (No. 43), New Mexico (No. 47), Indiana (No. 78).