Feb. 16, 2010
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawai'i - The University of New Mexico men's golf team kicks off its second event of the spring at a tournament its seen a great deal of success at over the years - the John A. Burns Intercollegiate, played at the Leilehua Golf Course on the island of O'ahu.
The Lobos have played in each of the previous 33 Burns Intercollegiate tournaments, winning the event in 2001 and 2005. New Mexico finished second at last year's Burns, posting a 25-under-par 839 to finish only three strokes behind eventual NCAA National Champion Texas A&M.
Erkenbeck shot a 7-under-par 65 in the final round last year to claim the individual title. Starting the final round in eighth place, he erased a five-shot deficit to edge second-round leader Tarquin Macmanus from Arizona by one shot. Erkenbeck finished with an 11-under 205. He was the Lobos' first medalist since Charlie Beljan won the 2007 ASU Thunderbird Intercollegiate.
"It was a pretty good coming-out party for him," Millican said of Erkenbeck. "He really came out big-time with that final round 65 and ended up winning the golf tournament by one or two shots.
"He's been playing well the entire time he's been here, but that certainly was one of the highlights for him last year."
The Lobos posted their lowest team score for 54 holes at the 2006 Burns with an 830. UNM has only matched that score once - at the Nelson Invitational that same year. In fact, five of the Lobos' top-10 lowest scores for 54 holes came at The Burns.
The second-lowest individual score in school history came at The Burns when Letzig fired a 199 in en route to his 2001 championship. Spencer Levin also shot a 201 to tie for the third-best score in Lobo history at the 2004 Burns.
"We've played in every Burns since the event started," Millican said. "It's always been a great tournament with a great field. We've had success there in the past. Last year we had a good one. We like that golf course and like what we're capable of doing out there."
Erkenbeck is averaging only 71.88 strokes per round this year, tops for the Lobos and eighth best in the Mountain West Conference thus far. He and teammates John Catlin (72.28, 12th), Travis Ross (73.18, 18th) and Nick Geyer (73.53, 19th) are all in the top 20 in conference for scoring average.
The Burns, hosted by the University of Hawai'i, moved to the Leilehua Golf Course in 2000 after 13 years at the Kane`ohe Klipper Golf Course.
LOBO LINEUP: Head coach Glen Millican will send the following players as members of the varsity squad: 1) James Erkenbeck 2) John Catlin 3) Travis Ross 4) Nick Geyer 5) Ryan Gay. Sam Chavez will compete as individual.
"We're excited - we've got a good group going over, " Millican said. "The four guys that have played in the top four spots for us in the past four events have been very steady. We've got a lot of competition towards the bottom of our lineup. There are a number of guys really competing for that fifth spot."
Be sure to visit GoLobos.com for complete recaps of each day's competition.
Tuesday, Feb. 16 - Practice Round, 4 P.M. MST
Wednesday, Feb. 17 - First Round, 12 P.M. MST
Thursday, Feb 17 - Second Round, 12 P.M. MST
Friday, Feb. 18 - Third Round, 12 P.M. MST
Individual: James Erkenbeck, New Mexico (69-71-65=205, -11)
Team: Texas A&M (286-278-272=836, -28)