Sept. 9, 2009
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - New Mexico's Mens Golf program opens the new season with its own tournament, the 55th playing of the William H. Tucker Intercollegiate. The tournament is this Friday and Saturday at the University of New Mexico Championship Golf Course. The Tucker is the second-oldest men's college tournament in the country, behind only the New England Intercollegiate Golf Tournament. The invitational is named in honor of English golf course architect and former University of New Mexico groundskeeper William H. Tucker.
Included in the field of 17 teams is defending NCAA National Champion Texas A&M. Air Force, Arizona, Baylor, BYU, Campell, Colorado, UNLV, New Mexico State, North Texas, Pepperdine, San Diego State, UTEP, UT-San Antonio, Utah and Wyoming round out the field.
The Tucker is a 54-hole tournament, with each participant playing two rounds on Friday and a final round on Saturday. The Shotgun start is at 7:30 a.m. each day. As for the 2009-10 University of New Mexico men's golf team - it looks to the Tucker as an opportunity to build on the success the 2008-09 squad enjoyed. The Lobos return three of the five golfers that led last year's squad back into the postseason -a sixth-place finish at the NCAA West Regional. The Lobos will count heavily on that trio - Nick Geyer, Tom Carlson and James Erkenbeck - heading into the new season.
Geyer, entering his senior season of eligibility, graduated Cum Laude with a degree in communications and a minor in management this past spring with a 3.55 GPA. Geyer finished the 2008-09 season with a 73.65 stroke average over 38 rounds and three top-20 finishes, including medaling at the National Invitational Tournament. Geyer played in all 13 of the Lobos' varsity events last season.
Junior Tom Carlson saw action in 10 varsity events last season, playing in every event of the spring calendar and wrapping up the season with a 74.17 stroke average over 23 varsity rounds. Carlson had a pair of top-20 finishes, including a tie for ninth-place at the Arizona Intercollegiate.
Sophomore James Erkenbeck finished last year's campaign with a 72.78 stroke average - second best behind Second-Team PING All-American Steve Saunders. Erkenbeck was the first of the three Lobos to medal last season, taking first place at the John Burns Intercollegiate after posting an 11-under-par 205 over 54 holes.
A number of candidates are vying to fill the two varsity spots vacated by Saunders and fellow senior Jon Sauer. Among those looking to log varsity tournament time are Senior Brandon Putnam; juniors Travis Ross and Alex Zannes; sophomores James Gehrke and Shane McDonald and redshirt freshman Ryan Smith. Also planning on being in the mix are four newcomers to the Lobos - freshmen Jon Caitlin, Ryan Gay and Eduardo Chavez and junior transfer Samuel Chavez.
Carlson finished qualifying play for the Tucker in the top spot, followed by Geyer and Erkenbeck. Putnam and Ross qualified for the No. 4 and 5 slots. Samuel and Eduardo Chavez, Caitlin, Gay, Smith, McDonald, Gehrke and Zannes will all play as individuals.
2008 TUCKER: The Lobos finished in second place at the 2008 William H. Tucker Intercollegiate at the UNM Championship Course. UNM posted a final round 299 to shoot a 1-under (277-287-299=863). UNLV won the event with a 12-under 852 (277-292-283).
The Lobos were led by senior Steve Saunders' 1-under 71. Saunders finished tied for fifth at 2-under for the tournament (67-76-71=214). Putnam, playing as an individual, also tied for fifth overall. He shot a final round 76 after holding the 36-hole lead (68-70-76=214). Senior Jon Sauer shot even par to finish tied for eighth (73-70-72=215) in the individual race. Geyer and Erkenbeck gave the Lobos five individuals in the top-20. Geyer tied for 14th at 3-over (70-72-77=219) while Erkenbeck tied for 16th (72-69-79=220).
Senior Parker Pemberton was the other Lobo playing in the top-5. He finished the event tied for 49th at 11-over (68-77-82=227). The Lobos also had four other golfers competing as individuals.
Carlson (76-73-79=228, +12/T37), Gehrke (78-78-77=233, +17/T71) and McDonald (80-77-85=242, +26/T86) all played in the Tucker.