Ross Finishes Fourth at Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  03/15/2010
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

March 15, 2010

Final Results
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. - University of New Mexico men's golfer Travis Ross shot a 1-over-par 73 Sunday afternoon at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters, good enough to land Ross a fourth-place finish at 5-over for the tournament.

Ross, a native of Crookston, Minn., carded his second 73 in as many days to move up from sixth place to fourth in the final round. Both rounds were played in a howling wind, reaching above 40 mph at times. Ross totaled a 75-73-73=221 for the three rounds.

For the second straight day, the Southern Highlands Golf Club didn't surrender a single round under par. Ross' 73 tied for the third best round of the final round, one stroke behind both Florida's Tyson Alexander and UCLA's Pedro Figueiredo.

"I felt really good for the first time this season," Ross said. "I still made some mistakes, but I didn't let them rattle me and was able to capitalize on some opportunities, too."

Ross led the field with 12 birdies and finished second in par-4 scoring, averaging a 4.00. He also finished 2-under on the par-5s with an average of 4.83.

Arizona State's Jesper Kennegard took medalist honors with a 3-over 71-72-76=219. USC's T.J. Vogel and Florida's Tyson Alexander tied for second with 220s.

Freshman John Catlin carded the second-best score for the Lobos, finished in a four-way tie for 53rd with a 22-over 75-82-81=238. Senior Nick Geyer finished in a four-way tie for 57th with a 23-over 77-83-79=239, sophomore James Erkenbeck posted a 25-over 82-78-81=241 to tie for 64th and junior Samuel Chavez shot a 27-over 78-83-82=243.

As a team, the 45th-ranked Lobos shot a 26-over 314 and tied Georgia for 12th place at 71-over, ahead of the eighth-ranked Gators and 43rd-ranked Arizona. Tournament host and 11th-ranked UNLV captured the team title for the third straight year, tying seventh-ranked UCLA for top honors with a 35-over 899.

Saturday's Second Round
University of New Mexico men's golfer Travis Ross surfaced from a windswept, dusty Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters Saturday afternoon near the top of the leaderboard.

Ross carded a 1-over-par 73 Saturday and is now tied for sixth place after two rounds with a 4-over, 75-73=148. Ross is two strokes out of the top five and five strokes behind co-leaders Jesper Kennegard (Arizona State) and T.J. Vogel (USC), both of whom are at 1-under entering Sunday's final round.

"Going into the day, I knew it was going to be rough weather-wise," Ross said. "I played well yesterday and really got my confidence back for the first time this spring. I'm playing at level I want to and know I can play at."

Scores of under par didn't exist Saturday at the Southern Highlands Golf Club. Winds during Saturday's round were listed by the National Weather Service around 31 mph and gusting as high as 41 mph. Couple the wind gusts with rock-hard greens and you get Saturday's average score, 79.51. That's an average score of over 7-over for the 75 participants.

Lobo freshman John Catlin carded a 10-over 82 and is in a three-way tie for 46th with a 13-over 157. Sophomore James Erkenbeck shot a 6-over 78 and is tied with senior teammate Nick Geyer and four others for 57th place at 16-over. Geyer carded an 11-over 83 during Saturday's second round.

Junior Samuel Chavez is one stroke behind Erkenbek and Geyer at 17-over. Chavez carded an 11-over 83 Saturday.

As a team, the 45th-ranked Lobos shot a 28-over 316 and are now alone in 13th place at 45-over, ahead of 15th-ranked Georgia Tech (+46) and No. 1 Oklahoma State (+47). Tournament host and 19th-ranked UNLV leads the event at 17-over, followed by No. 12 UCLA (+24). No. 8 Texas A&M (+26), No. 18 USC (+26), No. 10 Arizona State and No. 16 Texas Tech (both at +32) round out the top five places.

New Mexico starts the third round Sunday at 10:20 a.m. MST. The Lobos are playing with the top-ranked Cowboys and 15th-ranked Yellow Jackets.

Friday's First Round
University of New Mexico men's golf team spent the majority of Friday's first round at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters in the top-5, looked like it was going to complete the day in the top-10, yet finished the day tied for 14th place with a 17-over-par 305.

The Lobos begin Saturday's second round only a few strokes from climbing back into contention, as every team in the field completed the first day over par. Florida leads at 4-over, with the rest of the field packed together between 6 and 16-over.

Individually, New Mexico's John Catlin and Travis Ross find themselves tied for 25th-place in the 75-man field after the first round, each having shot a 3-over-par 75. The duo is seven strokes out of the lead, held by TCU's Johan de Beer and the Gators' Tyson Alexander at 4-under.

Both Catlin and Ross, each sitting at par for the day before falling victim to late bogeys in the opening round, are within three strokes of finding themselves in the top 10.

The Southern Highlands Golf Club was expected to provide an ample challenge to the collegiate field, and thus far it hasn't disappointed. The par-72 course that measures 7,510 yards and is ranked 34th in Golf Digest Index for best the modern-day golf courses in the nation and 27th in the Top 50 Private Golf Courses by GolfWorld.

According to the Lobos, the greens are as slick as advertised.

"These greens are as fast as any I've ever seen," said senior Nick Geyer. "They're really challenging and are a big factor when considering how to hit your approach."

Geyer shot a 6-over 78, hovering around par until scoring a quadruple-bogey 8 on the 14th hole. Sophomore James Erkenbeck, who entered the tournament with five consecutive top-20 finishes and top-10 finishes in three of his last five tournaments, carded a 10-over 82.