Jan. 31, 2010
TUCSON, Ariz. --- A well-rested University of New Mexico men's golf team looks to shake the chill of winter and open its 2010 spring season at the Arizona Invitational, Feb. 1-2, at Arizona National Golf Club. Hosted by the University of Arizona, it is the first major college golf event of the spring season.
New Mexico is in action for the first time since the Baylor Intercollegiate on Oct. 26-27, where it notched its second top-five finish of the fall season. The Lobos tied for fourth-place at the Baylor, posting a 14-over 291-293-282=866 at the rain-soaked event.
The 2010 Arizona Invitational is a 54-hole event, which will be contested at Arizona National, a par 71, 6,793-yard layout. Thirty-six holes will be played on Monday, Feb. 1 with continuous play scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. MST. The final 18 holes will start at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 2.
The Invitational boasts five teams in the field ranked in the top 50 places of the (Dec. 6) Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, which includes (ranking): California (30), Florida (3), Fresno State, Nevada, New Mexico (43), Northern Colorado, Pepperdine, San Diego State (24), Texas A&M (6), Texas-El Paso, Texas-San Antonio, UNLV and host Arizona (two squads).
"It's a great tournament," Lobos coach Glen Millican said. "I think we've played in every one of them they've hosted except two. (Arizona) always has a very strong field. This year I think the field is stronger than normal, so it will be a good test early on."
The Lobos finished eighth at the 2009 Arizona Intercollegiate, making up five spots on the final day after shooting a tournament-best 2-under 282.
Current Lobos James Erkenbeck and Nick Geyer took part in the Intercollegiate last year. Erkenbeck tied for 19th place after shooting a 4-over -par 76-72-69--217. His 2-under 69 for the final round allowed him to jump to 19th place from 45th place.
Senior Nick Geyer finished tied for 37th place last February after posting scores of 10-over-par 223. Geyer had been tied for 45th going into the final round.
Both Geyer and Erkenbeck are competing in this Monday's Intercollegiate.
New Mexico had its best showing at the Arizona Intercollegiate in 2005, winning the event with a 289-280-271=840. The Lobos have never had an individual take medalist honors at the event.
Live tournament scoring is available at Golfstat.com.
LOBO LINEUP - Head coach Glen Millican will send the following players as members of the varsity squad: 1) James Erkenbeck 2) Nick Geyer 3) Travis Ross 4) John Catlin 5) Sam Chavez. Three Lobos - Ryan Gay, Ryan Smith and Brandon Putnam - will compete as individuals.
"With this event, we're allowed to take more than just our normal five," Millican said. "So it'll be good to see more than just five guys play early on."
ERKENBECK GOES FOR FOUR - James Erkenbeck looks to extend his streak of top-10 finishes to four at the Arizona Intercollegiate.
The sophomore started his run at the PING/Golfweek Preview Sept. 27-28, tying for 10th with after carding a 5-over-par 76-72-73=221. He notched a seven-under 70-65=135 at the Alister MacKenzie Invitational Oct. 12-13 to tie for third. Erkenbeck closed the fall season with an even-par 73-70-70=213 - capturing eighth place.
"It's hard to predict what he's going to do," Millican said. "But he's got the ability to go out and win the whole tournament if he plays well. I know he'll be prepared and ready to go. He's always very prepared and plays hard every time we compete. It's just a matter of whether he hits the right shots at the right times and makes a few putts."
Sunday, Jan. 31: Practice Round, 1 p.m. MST
Monday, Feb 1: First Round, 8 a.m. MST
(Second Round follows immediately)
Tuesday, Feb. 2: Third Round, 8 a.m. MST
Individual: Chris Paisley, Tennessee (68-66-67=201/-12)
Team: Pepperdine (286-279-290=855/+3)