May 18, 2010
BERNALILLO, N.M. --- University of New Mexico head men's golf coach Glen Millican plays competitively against his squad once a year. This year, he beat them all - as well as the rest of the field - at the U.S. Open local qualifier held at Twin Warriors Golf Club Monday afternoon.
Millican shot a 3-under-par 68 to top the 40-man field and qualify for the June 7 U.S. Open sectional in Denver. He'll be joined by two of his golfers there - current senior Nick Geyer and last season's Mountain West Conference Golfer of the Year and All-American Steve Saunders. Geyer shot a 69 to finish second, while Saunders tied current Lobo junior Tom Carlson for third with matching 70s.
Saunders beat Carlson in a one-hole playoff for the third and final sectional spot. Carlson will serve as the first alternate.
"I've tried to qualify for the U.S. Open sectional four times, and this is the first time I've made it through, which is pretty exciting," Geyer said. "I got off to a slow start, which made for an interesting day."
His 35-ft. eagle putt on the 11th hole dropped Geyer to 2-under, propelling him to second place.
"It really got me pumped up," Geyer said. "It was a pretty consistent day. I was happy with the way I hit it. I hit 16 greens, which was pretty good."
"It was a good day," Millican said. "We had some current Lobos and a couple of former Lobos play pretty good yesterday. It was good to see our guys play well and good to see a bunch of us near the top."
Of the 40 participants at the qualifier, 10 are either currently playing or have played for UNM.
"The best thing about yesterday was that we had all five guys going to regional's playing in a competitive tournament yesterday, and the all played well," Millican said. "All of them really had good rounds going. That was probably the best practice we could have the day before leaving for a regional."
"It felt good to play well - it was fun," Millican said. "It's probably the best competitive round I've had in a long time. I didn't expect to win shooting 3-under-par, but that's fine. I just tried to go out there and play well."
I was kind of bummed that I lost in a playoff to Steve," Carlson said. "But, all-in-all, what I took from it was it was good to go play a god round of golf before we took off for a more important part of this week - the NCAA Regional. It was good to hit some good shots and make some good putts in a pretty competitive atmosphere."
Current Lobo junior Sam Chavez qualified for a sectional by tying for first with a 1-under 71 at the local qualifier held at Genoa Lakes Golf Club in Genoa, Nev. Jon Sauer, a member of last year's squad and native of St. Cloud, Minn., shot an even-par 72 to finish second at the local qualifier at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn.