May 20, 2010
BREMERTON, Wash. --- Is it a bad pun to call the Lobos a pack of underdogs Thursday morning? Well, yes. But that's exactly what New Mexico is as it enters the NCAA Washington Regional Tournament, held at the Gold Mountain Golf Club, Bremerton, Wash., located five miles southwest of Seattle.
The regional is stacked with top-ranked golf teams - three in the top-11, more than any other regional - and four conference champions. Sitting quietly as a mere No. 9 seed - four spots out of the top five and a trip to the NCAA Championship on June 1-6 at The Honors Course near Chattanooga, Tenn. - is New Mexico.
But make no mistake, these Lobos have more than a stern bark in their repertoire. Just ask the region's two top seeds, Washington and Southern California. They've both felt New Mexico's bite.
The Lobos' team title at the Callaway Match Play in late March included a win in the opening round against the regional's top-seeded Huskies, another in the second round against No. 5 seed San Diego and yet another against the second-seeded Trojans in the championship match.
The Lobos, ranked 53rd in this week's Golfweek/Saragin national collegiate team rankings, have played the 19th toughest schedule in the country. New Mexico has also had its share of success at Gold Mountain Golf Club this season, knocking off seven higher-ranked teams at last September's PING/Golfweek Invitational.
"We're ready to go," Lobo coach Glen Millican said. "We've had a good week of practice and our guys know that, if they play well, we're have the ability to play for a national championship in a couple of weeks. It's just a matter of playing one shot at a time and executing."
Washington General Information
Fittingly, No. 4-ranked and PAC-10 Conference Champion Washington is hosting the regional and is the tournament's No. 1 seed. The Huskies are joined by three other conference champions in the field of 13, including Mountain West Conference titlists and 26th-ranked Colorado State, the No. 6 seed. Big Ten champs and 11th-ranked Illinois is the No. 3 seed, while Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champs Loyola (Maryland) is the No. 13 seed.
The Lobos are ranked No. 53 in Monday's Golfweek/Sagarin National Collegiate Team Golf Ratings.
Southern California, ranked No. 10, is the second seed at the Washington regional. The rest of the field includes No. 25 Oregon State, No. 32 San Diego, No. 41 Middle Tennessee State, No. 44 SMU, No. 56 Fresno State, No. 64 Eastern Michigan and No. 75 Virginia Commonwealth.
New Mexico at Regional Tournament Play
The Lobos have qualified for the regional round of the NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championship every year but once (2008) since the NCAA introduced the format in 1989. New Mexico has won a regional tournament once, tying Washington at the 2002 West Regional title at the UNM Championship Golf Course.
The Lobos finished sixth last season at the San Francisco Regional, one stroke behind the Trojans for fifth and a bit to the NCAA Championship Tournament.
The Lobos have had two individual wins at regionals as well. Michael Letzig shot a 69-68-71=208 to win the 2003 West Regional played at Auburn, Washington. Mike Sauer shot a 68-69-71=208 to win the 1995 NCAA West Regional played at the UNM Championship Golf Course.
New Mexico at Gold Mountain Golf Club
The Lobos last played at the Gold Mountain Golf Club on Sept. 28, 2009, at the prestigious PING/Golfweek Invitational, finishing sixth in a field that included 15-team field selected to preview June's National Championship tournament field.
New Mexico finished ahead of a number of teams ranked in the Golfweek Top 50 at the time, including then-No. 4 Chattanooga, No. 14 USC, No. 16 Alabama, No. 31 Kent State and No. 35 Indiana. Also among the teams the Lobos finished higher than are all three Mountain West Conference foes in the field - No. 29 UNLV, No. 34 Colorado State and TCU.
Catlin Named MWC Freshman of the Year
University of New Mexico men's golfer John Catlin was named the Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year Tuesday afternoon. Catlin was also named to the All-Conference Team. Both honors were voted on by the nine MWC's nine head men's golf coaches, who also released the rest of the conference end-of-the-year awards.
Catlin, a highly-touted recruit out of Carmichael, Calif., has posted a 73.19 stroke average this season. He notched four top-20 finishes in 11 varsity events is ranked No. 150 among all men's collegiate individual golfers in the May 9 Golfwee/Sagarin national rankings. Catlin has 14 wins against golfers ranked in the Top 25, 26 against the Top 50 and 47 against the Top 100.
Catlin also played an instrumental role in the Lobos' team championship win at the Callaway Collegiate Match Play Championship on March 24. Catlin's match wins in the semifinal against Texas A&M and again against Southern California in the title match secured both team matches.
"I'm very happy for John," New Mexico coach Glen Millican said. "I'm proud of what he has done this year. It's great to see him be recognized for his efforts."