Men's Golf Travels to ASU Thunderbird Invitational
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  04/12/2007
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

April 12, 2007

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OPENING DRIVE: The University of New Mexico men's golf team heads to Tempe, Ariz., for the 2007 Arizona State Thunderbird Invitational Tournament on April 13-15. The 16-team field will compete on the par-72, 7,037-yard Karsten Golf Course. Teams will play 18 holes each day, starting with a 7:30 a.m. (P.D.T.) shotgun on Friday and Saturday and a 7:00 a.m. (P.D.T.) shotgun on Sunday.

Arizona won this event in 2006 with a 22-under-par score of 830. Kansas State's Ben Kern took medalist honors last year with a tournament record three round total of 199, 14 strokes under par for the event. The last time the Lobos played in the ASU Thunderbird Invitational was during the 2004 season, finishing with an 840 total (273-285-282). UNM placed fourth as a team at 24-under par. Charlie Beljan placed 18th overall after posting a 5-under 211 (69-68-74).

Head coach Glen Millican will take senior Charlie Beljan, junior Robb Bierbaum and sophomores Steve Saunders, Parker Pemberton and freshman Kyle Nielsen with him to the ASU Thunderbird Invitational. It will be Nielsen's first varsity action since the Windon Memorial Classic on Oct. 8-9. The field includes: Arizona, Arizona State, Baylor, Cal, Central Florida, Fresno State, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oregon, San Diego State, Southern Cal, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and UNLV.

THE COURSE: The ASU Thunderbird Invitational will be played at the Karsten Golf Course in Tempe, Ariz. The Karsten is a par-72, 7,037-yard Pete Dye links-style course just off the campus of Arizona State University. For more information on the Karsten Golf Course visit www.ASUKarsten.com.

RESULTS: The results can be found on the University of New Mexico website at www.golobos.com.

ASU THUNDERBIRD INVITATIONAL FIELD: The field includes: No. 5 Southern Cal, No. 7 UNLV, No. 15 Texas A&M, No. 19 Arizona State, No. 23 Arizona, No. 35 Texas Tech, No. 36 Baylor, No. 40 Central Florida, No. 46 San Diego State, Cal, Fresno State, Kansas State, Oklahoma and Oregon.

SAUNDERS EARNS MEDALIST HONORS: Sophomore Steve Saunders carded a 3-under at the Morris Williams Intercollegiate in Austin, Texas, to finish in a three-way tie for the lead. The tournament was shortened to 36 holes due to rain, but Saunders managed a 70 and 69 in his two rounds to finish in a tie for the top spot. It is the only first place finish of his career. He shot a 1-under par 215 to finish in a tie for 16th last week at the National Invitational in Tucson Ariz., lowering his season stroke average to 73.97 in 29 rounds.

BELJAN NAMED TO HOGAN WATCH LIST: Charlie Beljan was named to the 2007 Ben Hogan Award watch list announced by the Colonial Country Club and The Friends of Golf (FOG) in cooperation with the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA). The most prestigious award in men's college golf, The Hogan is presented annually to the top men's NCAA Division I, II or III, NAIA or junior college golfer taking into account all collegiate and amateur competitions during the last 12 months.

The Hogan Award selection committee will announce 10 semi-finalists out of the 23 watch list on April 4 and name three finalists on May 2. The three finalists will attend The Hogan Award banquet on May 22 at Colonial Country Club - the Tuesday prior to the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial - with the recipient announced that evening.

MORE ON BELJAN: Beljan currently has two wins on the season, the William H Tucker Invitational and the Club Glove Intercollegiate, to go with four top-10s in five tournaments. His 71.39 stroke average is currently the fourth lowest for a Lobo in a season in school history (Spencer Levin 69.95 in 2005). He is currently ranked 15th in this week's collegiate golf rankings.

NATIONAL INVITATIONAL RECAP: The Lobos finished the National Invitational Tournament in 10th place at the Omni Tucson National Golf Club in Tucson, Ariz. UNM shot an 8-over 296 in the final round to finish with a total of 872 (283-293-296), eight strokes over par. Arizona State won the event, finishing 24-under-par for the tournament. Senior Charlie Beljan and sophomore Steve Saunders led UNM, tying for 16th in the individual race at 1-under after three rounds. Beljan posted an even-par 72, carding four birdies and four bogeys in his final round. After back-to-back bogeys on 13 and 14, Beljan needed a pair of 3s on the par-4 16th and 18th to even his score on the final 18. Arizona State's Niklas Lemke won the event at 9-under par. Saunders posted his second straight 70 in the third round. He had a very steady round with birdies on 2 and 10 to finish a bogey-free round at 2-under par. Sophomore Parker Pemberton shot a 76 to finish at 6-over for the tournament and tie for 55th overall. Junior Robb Bierbaum's 78 moved him to +7 overall, tying for 59th. Sophomore Nick Geyer carded a 79 in his last round to finish at 11-over and tie for 66th.

MORRIS WILLIAMS INTERCOLLEGIATE RECAP: The University of New Mexico men's golf team shot a final round 283, 5-under-par, today in the rain shortened Morris Williams Intercollegiate. Sophomore Steve Saunders tied for medalist honors after posting a 3-under, 69 to finish at 5-under (70-69=139) for the tournament. Saunders tie for first place marked his career best finish and is his second career top-10 after tying for seventh at the John Burn Intercollegiate as a freshman. Saunders started the day on the back nine of the 6,906-yard, par-72 Austin Country Club. He posted birdies on 11 and 17 to go out in 34. He move to 3-under for the day with another birdie on third, but gave a shot back with a bogey on the fourth. He posted a three on the par-4 fifth hole, and finished with four pars to card his eighth round under par on the year. Saunders wasn't the only Lobo to finish in the red on the day. Senior Charlie Beljan and freshman Parker Pemberton both rebounded from opening round 80s to shoot 69. Both players had nearly identical rounds with five birdies and two bogeys each. It was the low round of the year fro Pemberton and the fifth time this season Beljan shot under 70. Both players finished the tournament a 5-over and in a tie for 42nd place. Junior Robb Bierbaum and sophomore Nick Geyer also played for UNM. Bierbaum posted a 4-over 76 while Geyer carded a 79 in the final round. Bierbaum had a two-day total of 151 (75-76), finishing in a tie for 55th. Geyer's pair of 79s left him at 14-over and in 74th out of 78 total golfers.

THE SCHENKEL RECAP: The UNM men's golf team finished the third and final round of the 2007 Schenkel E-Z-Go Invitational in ninth place with a total score of 889 (299-293-297). The Lobos 25-over par tally left them in the middle of the 18-team field. No. 5 Georgia held on for the win, finishing 10-under for the tournament. Sophomore Steve Saunders shot a 1-over, 73 in the final round. He finished the event with a 1-over total of 217 (75-69-73) to lead New Mexico. He was very steady, posting 15 pars, a birdie and a pair of bogeys. After a bogey on two and a birdie on three, a three-putt on 17 was the only thing that kept him from posting 16 consecutive pars to finish his round. Saunders finished the tournament tied for 11th place in the individual race. Chris Kirk of Georgia won the event with a 6-under total of 210 (70-68-72). Senior Charlie Beljan, currently ranked fifth in the Golf Week Magazine national rankings, also posted a 73 in today's final round. Beljan was on fire on the front side, making the turn with three-straight birdies to go out in 33. He lost that momentum with a double-bogey on No. 10 after hitting his tee shot in the water on the par-4. He came back to birdie 11, but hit his tee-shot in 12 out-of-bounds. He finished with bogeys in three of his last seven to post a 40 on the back side. He finished the tournament tied for 27th at 5-over par (73-75-73=221). Junior Robb Bierbaum posted a 75, moving to 9-over for the tournament. He finished tied for 41st. Sophomore Nick Geyer post a 76 in the final round, finishing in 54th place at 11-over par. Sophomore Guillermo Chavez posted the second highest round by a Lobo this season with an 84 in the final round. He tied for last place (89th) in the tournament at 25-over par.

THE HACKLER RECAP: New Mexico moved up to ninth place after the final round of the Jim Hackler Championship in Myrtle Beach, S.C.. The Lobos posted a team score of 2-over par, 290 to finish the tournament at 14-over par (293-295-290=878). Senior Charlie Beljan posted a 1-under, 71 today at the 6,950-yard TPC of Myrtle Beach to finish 3-under after three rounds. His score of 213 (70-72-71) left him tied for eighth in the overall standings. No. 11 Lamar won the event with a 26-under par score of 838 (275-278-285). Beljan played a steady round today, going out in 35 with birdies on two and eight, but finishing with a bogey on No. 9. He moved to 2-under with another birdie on 14, but gave that stroke back with a bogey on the 15th. This was Beljan's fourth top-10 individual finish of the season and his 12th round under par. Junior Rob Bierbaum and sophomore Steve Saunders both shot even-par 72 in the final round but both did it in different ways. Bierbaum was up-and-down all day with five birdies and five bogeys. He posted a 34 on the back nine with birdies on 17 and 18 to finish at even par. Bierbaum finished at 7-over for the tournament with a 223 (75-76-72). Saunders was steady throughout his round with a pair of pars and two bogeys, finishing at four-over in the event (220=76-72-72). Sophomore Nick Geyer started his day with an even-par 36 on his first nine holes. However, a double-bogey on the par-5 18th left him with a score of 75 on the day and 229 (79-75-75) on the tournament. Fellow sophomore Guillermo Chavez was 1-over through 15 but had a disastrous finish to his final round. He carded a triple-bogey on 16, double-bogey on 17 and a bogey on 18 to shoot 79 for the day. He finished at 16-over (232 -72-81-79) for the event.

JOHN BURNS INTERCOLLEGIATE RECAP: The Lobos finished 16th at the 22-team John Burns Intercollegiate in Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. New Mexico shot a final round 2-over par 290 on the par-72, 6,918-yard Leilehua Golf Course and finished 10-over par for the tournament (287-297-290=874). The team title went to BYU at 30-under par, eight strokes in front of UNLV. Individually, UNM was led by senior Charlie Beljan, who tied for 21st at 3-under par (68-75-70=213). Other Lobo final results were junior Robb Bierbaum was even par, tied for 32nd (71-70-75=216), sophomore Dan Saltz tied for 75th at 6-over par (72-77-73=222), sophomores Parker Pemberton (76-75-75=226) and Nick Geyer (77-77-72=226) tied for 91st at 10-over par and sophomore Steve Saunders, playing as an individual tied for 21st at 3-under par (73-70-70=213).

PING ARINZONA INTERCOLLEGIATE RECAP: The University of New Mexico men's golf team finished 12th at the Ping Arizona Intercollegiate. The Lobos ended the tournament at 23-over par (290-292-293=875) on the par-71, 6,793-yard Arizona National Golf Course in Tucson, Arizona. The team title went to UNLaV at 23-under par four strokes better than BYU. Individually, UNM was led by senior Charlie Beljan who moved up the leaderboard the final two rounds to finish tied for second. In the second round Beljan moved up from 19th to fourth with a career-best 65, which is also tied for the ninth best round at UNM. Beljan was 10-under par (70-65-68=203) for the tournament. Other Lobo results were sophomore Nick Geyer tied for 45th at 6-over par (71-74-74=219), sophomore Dan Saltz tied for 57th at 11-over par (75-74-75=224), junior Robb Bierbaum tied for 72nd at 16-over par (74-79-76=229) and sophomore Steve Saunders was 81st at 25-over par (79-79-80=238). Playing as individuals for New Mexico were freshman Kyle Nielsen, who tied for 72 at 16-over par (74-77-78=229) and sophomore Jacob Lestishen tied for 83rd at 28-over par (80-74-87=241).

CLUB GLOVE RECAP: Senior Charlie Beljan won medalist honors for the second time this season to lead the Lobo men's golf team to a second place finish at the Club Glove Intercollegiate. New Mexico tied with Pepperdine at 40-over par (300-305-299=904) on the par-72, 6,985 yard Saticoy Country Club Course in Somis, Calif. UNM was 11 strokes back of team champion Lamar, who finished at 29-over par. Beljan won his second tournament in as many tries, as he finished at 2-over par (71-76-71=218). Beljan trailed by one stroke entering the final round but carded a 1-under par 71 on the final 18-holes to edge Rick Romano of Houston and first round leader Jason Kokrak of Xavier by one stroke. Other Lobo results were sophomore Nick Geyer finished in the top-10 at seventh at 8-over par (75-74-75=224), sophomore Dan Saltz moved up 16 spots to finish tied for 24th at 17-over par (79-80-74=233) and junior Robb Bierbaum (77-77-80=234) and sophomore Steve Saunders (77-78-79=234) tied for 27th at 18-over par.

WINDON MEMORIAL RECAP: The Lobo men's golf team finished 10th at the Windon Memorial Classic in Glencoe, Illinois. The University of New Mexico finished at 63-over par (304-309-302=915) on the par-71, 7,021-yard Skokie Country Club Course. The team title went to SMU at 29-over par. Individually, the top UNM finish belonged to junior Robb Bierbaum and sophomore Nick Geyer at 16-over par. Bierbaum (75-81-73=229) and Geyer (74-78-77=229) ended the tournament tied for 24th. Other Lobo results were sophomore Dan Saltz tied for 30th at 17-over par (77-78-75=220), sophomore Steve Saunders tied for 17th at 20-over par (78-77-77=222) and freshman Kyle Nielsen tied for 57th at 30-over par (84-76-83=233). Medalist honors went to Colt Knost of SMU at 2-under par. Knost was the only player in the field under par and won by five strokes.

TUCKER RECAP: The University of New Mexico took two titles at the 52nd William H. Tucker Invitational as the Lobos won the team title and senior Charlie Beljan won the individual side. UNM shot a 10-over par 874 (286-297-291) for the tournament on the par-72, 7,354 yard UNM Championship Course. The Lobos edged BYU by one stroke and Pepperdine by three to claim their ninth Tucker championship and first since 2003. Beljan birdied his final hole of the day with a 12-foot putt to earn the one stroke victory over Jarred Texter of UNLV. He finished 6-under par (67-71-72=210) for the tournament and is the 12th Lobo to win a Tucker individual title and the first since Ian Medlock in 2003. Other Lobo results were sophomore Steve Saunders tied for 14th at 4-over par (74-74-72-220), junior Robb Bierbaum tied for 31st at 8-over par (74-74-76=224), sophomore Nick Geyer tied for 54th at 11-over par (71-79-77=227) and freshman Brandon Putnam tied for 66th at 13-over par (80-78-71). The New Mexico silver team finished tied for fifth at 16-over par just six strokes off the lead. The silver team was led by sophomore Dan Saltz. Saltz tied for sixth and posted the second best Lobo score tied at 1-under par (72-76-67=215). Other silver team results were freshman Kyle Nielsen tied for 23rd at 6-over par (70-74-78=222), freshman Sean McNamara tied for 38th at 9-over par (73-76-76=225), sophomore Guillermo Chavez tied for 54th at 11-over par (79-72-76=227) and sophomore Jacob Lestishen tied for 60th at 12-over par (76-80-72=228).

BELJAN MWC GOLFER OF THE MONTH (SEPTEMBER) New Mexico senior Charlie Beljan has been selected the Mountain West Conference Men's Golfer of the Month for September. Beljan, a Mesa, Ariz., native, sank a 12-foot birdie putt on his final hole of the William H. Tucker Invitational to win his first collegiate golf tournament by one stroke. Beljan's victory also secured a team win for New Mexico in the 21-team William H. Tucker Invitational, played at New Mexico's Championship Course on Sept. 22-23, in Albuquerque. Beljan finished the 54-hole event at 6-under-par 210, including a tournament-low 67 in the opening round. Following the victory, Golfweek Magazine named the Lobos the men's golf team of the week and Beljan the men's golfer of the week.

LOBOS AND BELJAN EARN GOLFWEEK HONORS: The University of New Mexico men's golf team earned two national honors this week. Golfweek magazine named the Lobos the men's golf team of the week and senior Charlie Beljan was named the men's golfer of the week. In its season-opening event, New Mexico placed last in the 15-team field at the Inverness Intercollegiate. However, playing at home was the perfect tonic. The Lobos posted rounds of 286-297-291 to win the William H. Tucker Invitational by one shot over BYU. As for Beljan, he made a 12-foot birdie putt on his final hole Sept. 23 to win his first college title at the William H. Tucker Invitational. Beljan's birdie gave the Lobos a one-shot win in their own tournament. He opened the Tucker with a tournament-low 67, finished the 54-hole event at 6-under 210 and won by a shot over UNLV's Jarred Texter.

INVERNESS INTERCOLLEGIATE: The Lobo men's golf team finished 15th at the Inverness Intercollegiate in Toledo, Ohio. UNM shot a final round 315 to finish at 953 (313-325-315=953) on the par-71, 7,255-yard Inverness Club. The team title went to USC at 44-over par, which was three strokes better than TCU. Individually the University of New Mexico was led by junior Robb Bierbaum with a final round 5-over 76 to finish at 24-over par (80-81-76=237) and tied for 55th. Other Lobo results were sophomore Nick Geyer (78-83-78=239) and freshman Kyle Nielsen (73-84-82=239) tied for 58th at 26-over par and sophomores Jacob Lestishen (84-79-81=244) and Dan Saltz (82-82-80=244) tied for 66th at 31-over par. Medalist honors went to Jon McLean of TCU at 1-over as he won by four strokes over Manuel Villegas of Florida.

LOBOS AT THE U.S. AMATEUR: The Lobos had three players compete in the U.S. Amateur in August. Jons Sauers advanced to the match play portion, losing in the opening round, while sophomore Nick Geyer and freshman Kyle Nielsen only played in the stroke play portion.