Lobos Looking for Fifth MWC Title in Last Six Years
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  04/23/2008
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

April 23, 2008

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    OPENING DRIVE: The University of New Mexico men's golf team is set to participate in the 2008 Mountain West Conference Championships this week at the Tucson National Golf Club (par 71-7,136 yards) in Tucson, Ariz. Competition runs April 24-26, with tee times beginning at 8:00 a.m. (M.D.T.) for each round. Teams will play 18 holes each day of the event.

    The Lobos will be grouped with Wyoming and Air Force in the opening round and will begin teeing off at 9:40 a.m. (M.D.T.). All groups will start on No. 1 with TCU, San Diego State and UNLV leading off, followed by BYU, Utah and Colorado State. The Lobos will be in the final group of the day. For rounds two and three, team groups will be determined by result.

    THE FIELD: All nine MWC schools sponsor men's golf and will be represented in the championships, including Air Force, BYU, Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State, TCU, UNLV, Utah and Wyoming.

    THE COURSE: The MWC Championships will be played at the 7,136-yard, par-71 Tucson National Golf Club's Catalina Course. This is the second year in a row the MWC has held the championships at the Catalina Course. The track is usually set up as a par-72, but is changed to a par-71 for the MWC Championships. The Lobos are vary familiar with the Catalina Course, having competed in the 2008 National Invitational Tournament at the Tucson National Golf Club in March.

    RESULTS: Results can be found on the University of New Mexico web site at www.GoLobos.com following the conclusion of competition on each day. Live scoring will be available on GoLobos.com via GolfStat.com each day.

    LOBO PLAYERS: Lobo head coach Glen Millican will go with juniors Jon Sauer and Steve Saunders, sophomores Kyle Nielsen and Brandon Putnam and freshman Tom Carlson at the MWC Championships. Both Saunders and Nielsen have experience at the MWC Championships. Saunders tied for 14th (220, +4) as a freshman and tied for fourth (210, -3) last season. Nielsen shot a 2-over 215 (70-76-69) to tie for 13th last season.

    Jon Sauer • Jr. • St. Cloud, Minn.
    74.13 stroke average • 30 rounds
    First Round Tee Time - 10:20 a.m. (M.D.T.)
    Back in the rotation after not traveling to the PING BYU Cougar Classic last weekend. Leads the team with eight rounds of par or better and six rounds of 70 or better. Tied for the team lead with three top-20 finishes.
    Sauer at the Tucson National - 3 rounds - 72.67 average
    2008 National Invitational - 75-73-76=224, +8 • T48

    Steve Saunders • Jr. • Albuquerque, N.M.
    75.09 stroke average • 35 rounds
    First Round Tee Time - 10:10 a.m. (M.D.T.)

    Came into the season with a 73.55 career average, ranking 12th all time at UNM, but has struggled in his junior campaign. Still leads the team with 35 rounds on the year and is the most experienced Lobo at the MWC. Has posted under-par rounds in five of his last eight at the Tucson National Golf Course. Shot 68-69 in the last two rounds of the MWC Championships and a pair of 70s in the last two rounds in last year's National. Shot a season-low 68 in the opening round of the 2008 National Invitational.
    Saunders at the Tucson National - 12 rounds - 72.25 average
    2006 National Invitational - 70-76-78=224, +8 • T61
    2007 National Invitational - 75-70-70=215, -1 • T16
    2007 MWC Championships - 73-68-69=210, -3 • T4
    2008 National Invitational - 68-73-77=218, +2 • T21

    Brandon Putnam • So. • Albuquerque, N.M.
    76.04 stroke average • 26 rounds
    First Round Tee Time - 9:50 a.m. (M.D.T.)

    Career low 18 hole total (69 - 2nd) and 54-hole total (217, +1) at the Catalina Course in the National Invitational in March. Also led the team with a 20th place finish. Tied for the team lead with three top-20 showings on the year.
    Putnam at the Tucson National - 3 rounds - 72.33 average
    2008 National Invitational - 71-69-77=217, +1 • 20

    Kyle Nielsen • So. • Lake Havasu, Ariz.
    76.13 stroke average • 15 rounds
    First Round Tee Time - 10:00 a.m. (M.D.T.)

    Opening round 66 at the ASU Thunderbird is the lowest by a Lobo this season. Tied for 13th at the MWC Championships last season with a 2-over 215 (70-76-69). Only Lobo who did not play in the 2008 National Invitational.
    Nielsen at the Tucson National - 3 rounds - 71.67 average
    2007 MWC Championships - 70-76-69=215, +2 • T13

    Tom Carlson • Fr. • Sioux Falls, S.D.
    74.00 stroke average • 15 rounds
    First Round Tee Time - 9:40 a.m. (M.D.T.)
    74.00 season average is the lowest on the team. Tied for 26th with a 2-over 218 (72-70-76) at the PING BYU Cougar Classic.
    Carlson at the Tucson National - 3 rounds - 76.33 average
    2006 National Invitational - 74-77-78=229, +13 • T65

    LOBOS AT THE MWC CHAMPIONSHIPS: The Lobos have won four of the eight MWC men's golf championships, taking all of their trophies in a run from 2003-06. All four of the New Mexico's titles came at the Crosswater Course in Sunriver, Ore. UNM placed sixth at the MWC last season, the first year the championships moved to the Tucson National Golf Club. Two Lobos have won the individual title, including Michael Letzig in 2003 and Jay Choi in 2006. New Mexico's lowest 18 hole team total at the MWC Championship was a 12-under 276 in the first round in 2003. Their lowest 54-hole total was a 9-under 855 that same year.

    TUCSON NATIONAL...A FAMILIAR TRACK: The Lobos are visiting the Tucson National Golf club for the fifth time in the last three seasons. All five Lobos have played at least one competitive round at the Tucson National's Catalina Course. UNM has taken part in the National Invitational on this same course in each of the last three years. This will be the second year in a row the MWC Championships have been held at the Tucson National. The Catalina Course is set up as a par-71 at the MWC Championships, but is a par 72 for the National Invitational. Here is a look at how the Lobos have done at the Tucson National Golf Club in recent outings:
    2006 National Invitational - 8th/15 - 282-295-293=870, +6
    2007 National Invitational - 10th/15 - 283-293-296=872, +8
    2007 MWC Championships - 6th/9 - 289-287-289=865, +13
    2008 National Invitational - 12th/15 - 286-290-308=884, +20

    PUTNAM DROPS IN FIRST CAREER ACE: UNM Sophomore Brandon Putnam carded his first ace on the 216-yard par 3 eighth hole at the Husky Invitational in the fall. He flew a 4-iron off the tee into the cup for the hole-in-one.

    MILLICAN SECOND IN CAREER WINS AMONG LOBO HEAD COACHES: The Lobos have won 13 events under current head coach Glen Millican, the second highest number by a head coach in school history. Dick McGuire won 28 times in his tenure from 1954-76.

    PING BYU COUGAR CLASSIC RECAP: The Lobos dropped from second to fifth place in the final round of the PING BYU Cougar Classic. The Lobos tied for the highest round of the tournament with a 15-over 303 at the Riverside Country Club (par 72, 7,001 yards) in Provo, Utah. New Mexico finished the 54-hole event at even par (280-281-303=864) and 17 shots behind first place New Mexico State (277-282-288=847, -17).

    ASU THUNDERBIRD INVITATIONAL RECAP: Kyle Nielsen's bid to take the individual title at the 36th Arizona State Thunderbird Invitational came up short when he shot a 7-over 78 in the final round. Nielsen began with a 1-shot lead at the Karsten Golf Course (par-71, 7,057 yards) in Tempe, Ariz. He finished in a tie for ninth at 1-over 214, easily his best finish of the 2007-08 season. The Lobos ended up placing 15th in the 16-team field. UNM shot a 17-over 301 today, finishing at 888.

    MORRIS WILLIAMS INVITATIONAL RECAP: UNM finished the 2008 Morris Williams Intercollegiate in 15th place after a final round 310. The Lobos finished with a three round total of 920, 68 strokes over par (306-304-310). Sauer finished tied for 39th at 14-over (78-73-76=227). Lestishen shot 77 in the third round to tie for 45th at 16-over (76-76-77=229). Putnam finished at 17-over (76-77-77=230) for the tournament, tying for 52nd. Nielsen finished tied for 63rd at 21-over (76-78-80=234). Saunders had his worst round of his collegiate career with a 91 today. He finished 77th overall at 37-over (79-80-91=250).

    NATIONAL INVITATIONAL RECAP: UNM dropped 10 spots from a tie for second to 12th in the final round of the National Invitational in Tucson, Ariz. After starting the day at even-par, the Lobos shot a 20-over 308 and finish the tournament with an 884 (286-290-308). Putnam started the day in fourth place in the individual race, but a final round 77 left him at 1-over par and in 20th. His three round total of 217 (71-69-77) is still his best 54-hole total as a Lobo. Saunders tied for 21st at 2-over (68-73-77) after his final round 77. Sauer led the Lobos in the final round with a 76, but tied for 48th in the individual race at 8-over (75-73-76). Carlson carded a 78 (74-77-78=229, +13) and Bierbaum finished with a 79 (73-75-79=227, +7) in the final round.

    SCHENKEL INVITATIONAL RECAP: The Lobos shot a final round 303 at the E-Z-Go Schenkel Invitational in Statesboro, Ga., to finish the 18-team event in 17th place at 37-over par (304-294-303=901). No. 1 Alabama took home the team title, finishing at 15-under par (285-280-284=849). Sauer shot a 2-under 70 in today's third round at the Forest Heights Country Club. It was the only under par round for any Lobo on the weekend. Sauer finished tied for 25th overall with a 2-over 218 (74-74-70) 218 total after 54 holes. Lestishen and Saunders both tied for 72nd place with a 13-over total of 229. Lestishen shot a 78 today (79-72-78) while Saunders posted a final round 74 (79-75-74). Carlson was one stroke back in 77th place with a 14-over 230 (74-75-81). Pemberton tied for 85th with a 16-over 232 (77-73-82).

    JOHN BURNS INTERCOLLEGIATE RECAP: UNM shot a season low 279 in the final round to finish with a three-round total of 861 (290-292-279), three strokes under par and in 16th place in the 21-team field. UNM was led by Sauer and Carlson, who both shot 5-under 67's today. Carlson finished tied for 24th at 6-under par (73-70-67=210) in just his second career start. Sauer had his first under-par round of the tournament and his lowest of the season today, finishing at 2-under (73-74-67=214) and tied for 44th.

    PING ARIZONA INTERCOLLEGIATE RECAP: The Lobos finished tied for ninth overall at 24-over par (292-294-290=876). No. 12 Tennessee won the 16-team event with a three round total of 832 (272-277-283), 20 strokes under par. Saunders finished with a three-round total of 218 (73-75-70) to finish in a tie for 26th in the individual race, five strokes over par. His final round 70 equals his lowest 18-hole score of the season.

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