Sept. 15, 2007
The University of New Mexico men's golf team finished the 2007 William H. Tucker in seventh place after a final round 298 (+10) at the UNM Championship Course today. UNM ended the tournament with a 21-over total of 885 (297-290-298), 21 strokes behind Pepperdine's winning score of 864 (289-286-289, E). Junior Steve Saunders led UNM with a 1-under 215 (70-71-74), while Pepperdine's Jesse Barnsley won the individual title with a 12-under 201 (66-67-71).
The surprise of the tournament was Lobo junior Jacob Lestishen's 4-under 212 (70-70-72). He finished tied for second overall, but since he played as an individual, his score did not count for the Lobos' team total. Lestishen, who missed the Lobo line-up after bad qualifying rounds earlier in the week, posted a pair of under-par scores in one tournament for the first time in any collegiate event, JV or varsity. His previous best outing was last year's Mustang Invitational where he tied for fifth at 7-over (70-77-76, =223) with the JV squad. Had Lestishen been in the line-up, New Mexico would have at best finished 9-over and in fourth place as a team.
"I shot even today," added Lestishen. "It was a bit of an up and down round. I started really well, 3-under after five holes, then I gave some back in the middle of the round. I fought hard at the end to finish even. I was pleased with it overall."
"I am very happy," continued Lestishen after being asked about his overall performance. "This is my best finish by far in a college tournament. I am happy to be able to do it on our home course. My parents came down to watch so it was fun to play well. I think I took what I learned last week in the qualifying and tried to come out here and be confident, regardless of what score I had or what shot I hit. It helped knowing that I have been playing well here. I've known I had the game, I was just more confident this week than last week."
Senior Robb Bierbaum's 73 was the low 18 on the day for New Mexico. He was 2-under through 11, but bogeyed three of his last seven holes to finish the tournament at 6-over and tied for 26th (77-72-73=222). Saunders posted a 74 in his final round, finishing tied for seventh overall.. Sophomore Brandon Putnam (76-74-75=225) and junior Dan Saltz (76-73-76) both tied for 40th at 9-over. Junior Jon Sauer was 14-over with a 230 (75-77-78), tying for 66th.
The Lobos' team score would have been higher had it not been for two birdies on the 280-yard par-3 17th. Saunders and Putnam both carded 2s on the hardest hole on the course to keep UNM from dropping to eighth overall. Putnam's three-wood off the tee settled to within three feet of the cup, leaving him a tap-in for birdie.
Junior Guillermo Chavez and freshman Andrew Patapaksiri both played as individuals along with Lestishen for New Mexico. Chavez carded a 7-over (76-74-73=223) to finsh tied for 30th while Patapaksiri finished tied for 70th with a 15-over (75-81-75=231).
On a side note, New Mexico earns 1.5 points in the Rio Grande Rivalry with New Mexico State. The Aggies finished in 12th place overall with a total of 897 (302-296-299, +33). New Mexico leads the rivalry 4.5-1.5 after three events.
UNM will next hit the links on Oct. 1-2 in Seattle, Wash., when they travel to the Gold Mountain Golf Course for the Husky Invitational.