New Mexico Faces Tough Field at Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  03/11/2010
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

March 11, 2010

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The University of New Mexico men's golf team embarks on its third event of the spring season this weekend at the prestigious Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters. It takes place Friday-Sunday, March 12-14, at Southern Highlands Golf Club and is hosted by UNLV. The 54-hole tournament will be played 18 holes each day, with tee times beginning at 9 a.m. MST each morning.

Live stats will be available at Golfstat.com, with full stats, daily recaps, photo galleries and video highlights available at GoLobos.com.

The Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters boasts the strongest field the 46th-ranked Lobos will have faced this year. All of the 15 teams competing are ranked in the top 50 of the Golfweek/Sargarin national rankings - 11 of which are in the top 20.

"The Southern Highlands is a great event," coach Glen Millican said. "We're looking forward to playing. It's a great opportunity for our team."

The Southern Highlands Golf Club should provide an ample challenge for each of the 75 participants. 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.

New Mexico has played in the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters numerous times, most recently finishing 12th in 2006 and 10th in 2005. Spencer Levin scored the highest finish for a Lobo at the event in 2005, tying for sixth place with a 1-under-par 73-67-75=215.

The host Rebels won last year's team championship with a 9-under 285-288-282=855. Georgia Tech's Cameron Tringale was the individual medalist, carding an 11-under 67-70-68=205.

(Golfweek/Saragin ranking in parenthesis) -
Arizona (49), Arizona State (12), Florida (5), Georgia (15), Georgia Tech (14), New Mexico (46), Oklahoma State (1), TCU (29), Tennessee (27), Texas (4), Texas A&M (7), Texas Tech (16), UCLA (11), UNLV (18) and USC (17).

LOBO LINEUP - Head Coach Glen Millican will send the following players: 1) James Erkenbeck, 2) Nick Geyer, 3) John Catlin, 4) Travis Ross, 5) Samuel Chavez.

JOHN A. BURNS RECAP - The University of New Mexico men's golf team continued its ascension up the leaderboard during the final round of the 33rd annual John A. Burns Intercollegiate Friday, Feb. 20. The Lobos carded a 6-under par 282 in the final round, bringing their three-day total to an 11-under 853 and a fifth-place finish.

New Mexico found itself sitting in 12th place after shooting a 6-over 294 in Wednesday's first round. The Lobos responded with an 11-under 277 on Thursday and Friday's 6-under 282, leapfrogging seven teams. Included in that list of seven teams that New Mexico climbed past over the final two rounds is 25th-ranked SMU, No. 46 Fresno State, No. 55 Arizona and No. 57 Nevada. The Lobos are currently ranked 48th nationally.

"We had another good day of play to finish the event," coach Glen Millican said. "We're proud of how the guys responded to a poor first round and made a great comeback over the second and third rounds."

New Mexico's Nick Geyer and James Erkenbeck each notched a top-20 finish. Geyer carded a 5-under 72-66-73=211, finishing in a four-way tie for 11th place. Erkenbeck recovered from a first-round 78 nicely, shooting a second-round 4-under 68 and final round 6-under 66. Erkenbeck finished with a 4-under 212 - good for a tied for 15th place.

"James and Nick both did a wonderful job of leading the team this week," Millican said. "Those two really helped up climb back into the tournament and finish fifth with such a strong field."

Erkenbeck's final-round 66 came while the sophomore was experiencing severe pain in his lower back, according to Millican.

"James' play was very impressive today. Somehow he found a way to fight through and played an awesome round of golf - one of the most impressive rounds I have seen." Both John Catlin and Samuel Chavez finished in a tie with two others for 25th. Catlin carded a 72-71-73=216, while Chavez finished with a 74-71-71=216.

Travis Ross finished just out of the top-25, carding a 2-under 70 on the final day to finish with a 1-over 75-72-70=217. Ryan Gay finished in a three-way tie for 47th with a 4-over 75-72-73=220.