April 24, 2007
OPENING DRIVE: The University of New Mexico men's golf team heads to Tucson, Ariz., this weekend to defend it Mountain West Conference Championship at the Tucson National Golf Club. The Lobos will be trying to win their fifth-straight MWC title on April 26-28 after capturing the previous four trophies at the Crosswater Course in Sunriver, Ore. The nine-team MWC field will play the 7,136-yard, par-71 Catalina Course this weekend.
UNM won last year's title with a three-round total of 865 (284-283-298, +1), five shots clear of second place San Diego State (294-280-296=870, +6). Former Lobo Jay Choi won the 2006 MWC Individual Title with a 215 total (72-70-73, -1). He finished one stroke ahead of TCU's Tom Miles (70-72-74=216, E) and San Diego State's Andrew Scott (70-72-74=216, E).
The championship schedule calls for 18 holes each day with tee times beginning at 8:30 a.m. (P.D.T.). First round group pairings are as follows:
Group 1 - UNLV, BYU, Utah
Group 2 - Colorado State, Air Force, Wyoming
Group 3 - TCU, New Mexico, San Diego State.
All groups in all three rounds begin on No. 1 with second and third round groups pairings based on results.
THE COURSE: The MWC Championships will be played on the 7,136-yard, par-71 Catalina Course at the Tucson National Golf Club in Tucson, Ariz. Normally a par-73 track, the Catalina Course has been adjusted for the MWC Championships. Both the second and 11th holes, a pair of par-5's, have been shortened to par-4's for the MWC Championships. The Catalina Course has been the host to over 30 PGA Tour Events, including the Chrysler Classic of Tucson. The Lobos are very familiar with the course, having competed in the University of Arizona's National Invitational earlier this season and the 2006 NCAA West Regionals at the Catalina Course. Designed by Robert Van Hagga and Bruce Devlin, the Catalina Course was selected as one of Golf Digest's "75 Best Golf Resorts in North America." For more information on the Catalina Course visit www.TucsonNational.com.
RESULTS: The results can be found on the University of New Mexico website at www.golobos.com.
MWC CHAMPIONSHIP FIELD: The nine-team field includes: No. 8 UNLV, No. 14 BYU, No 31 TCU, No. 50 San Diego State, Air Force, Colorado State, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
LOBOS AT THE MWC CHAMPIONSHIPS: Despite having won the last four titles, the Lobos will bring a relatively inexperienced squad to the 2007 MWC Championships. Only senior Charlie Beljan and sophomore Steve Saunders have played in the conference championships with junior Robb Bierbaum, sophomore Parker Pemberton and freshman Kyle Nielsen making their first appearances. Beljan has posted three top-10 showings at the MWC Championships, finishing tied for fifth as a freshman (71-71-71=213, -3), tied for seventh in 2005 (74-69-72=215, -1) and tied for fourth last season (75-68-74=217, +1). Saunders posted a three-round total of 220 (70-74-76, +4) at the MWC Championships last season, finishing tied for 14th overall.
BELJAN NAMED MWC MEN'S GOLFER OF THE MONTH (APRIL): New Mexico senior Charlie Beljan has been selected Mountain West Conference Men's Golfer of the Month for April. Beljan finished all three April tournaments under par, beginning with the National Invitational Tournament April 2-3. The Mesa, Ariz., native placed 16th and shot a one-under 215 (68-75-72) on the 7,200-yard Omni Tucson National Course. A week later, Beljan earned medalist honors at the ASU Thunderbird Invite in Tempe, Ariz. It was his third win of the season with a 15-under par three-round total of 201 (66-67-68). His opening round score of 66 on the 7,057-yard Karsten Course tied a career low for 18 holes. His 54-hole total of 201 also was a career low. In Beljan's last outing at the PING BYU Cougar Classic at Riverside Country Club in Provo, Utah on April 19-21, he carded two rounds of 67 and a round of 73 on the way to a third place finish. Beljan shot a 54-hole total of nine-under 207 (67-73-67) on the 7,001-yard course. Seven of Beljan's nine rounds in April were par or better and six were under 70. He shot an average of 69.22 per 18 holes. He is currently ranked No. 10 in the nation in the GolfWeek.com rankings and holds fourth in the league in shooting average at 70.88. This is Beljan's second MWC Golfer of the Month honor this season. Beljan comes into the MWC Championships with a 70.67 season stroke average, the third lowest in school history (Spencer Levin - 69.95 in 2005).
SAUNDERS CONTINUES STRONG PLAY: Sophomore Steve Saunders continued his recent surge with a 1-under 215 at the three-round ASU Thunderbird Invitational in Tempe, Ariz. He finished tied for 23rd overall. It was his third-straight tournament under par after posting a 1-under 215 at the National Invitational in Tucson, Ariz., on April 2-3 and tying for the win at 3-under (139) at the Morris Williams Intercollegiate in Austin, Texas, on March 26-27. Saunders has posted under-par scores in seven of his last 11 competitive rounds. Saunders has a season average of 74.17 in 29 varsity rounds. He is shooting 72.33 in his last three tournaments.
BIERBAUM HAS CAREER-BEST SHOWING AT BYU: Junior Robb Bierbaum is entering the MWC Championships on a strong note, posting his career best score of 1-under par at the 54-hole PING BYU Cougar Golf Classic last weekend. He has a 75.06 18-hole average in a team-high 35 varsity rounds this season. He is shooting 73.22 per 18 holes over the last three tournaments.
PEMBERTON MAKES FIRST VISIT TO MWC CHAMPIONSHIPS: Sophomore Parker Pemberton is averaging 75.36 strokes per round after five varsity tournaments this season. He transferred from Minnesota and became eligible for the Lobos in the spring season.
NIELSEN HAS SOLID SCORES AT BYU: Freshman Kyle Nielsen posted even-par 72s in the last two rounds of the PING BYU Cougar Classic last weekend. He has played in each of the last two tournaments for the Lobos, averaging 74.00 over his last six rounds. He shot even-par 72 in three of those six 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.
PING BYU COUGAR CLASSIC RECAP: Beljan posted a 67 in the final round of the 2007 PING BYU Cougar Golf Classic in Provo, Utah, to finish in third place in the individual standings. Beljan totaled 207 (67-73-67) in the 54-hole event, leading the Lobos to a fifth place showing in the 19-team event at the 7,001-yard, par-72 Riverside Country Club. UNM finished the tournament with a 1-under three-round total of 863 (290-293-280). BYU won the event at 32-under par (832). The Cougars Daniel Summerhays won the individual title with an 11-unde score of 205 (67-71-67). Junior Robb Bierbaum had his strongest tournament of the season with a 1-under score of 215 (73-72-70), tying for 20th overall. Freshman Kyle Nielsen also had his lowest three-round total of the season, finishing tied for 41st at 4-over (76-72-72=220, +4). Sophomore Steve Saunders shot a 1-under 71 in the third round to finish at 5-over for the tournament (74-76-71=221, +5). Sophomore Parker Pemberton shot a final round 72 to finish with a 10-over score of 226 (78-76-72).
ASU THUNDERBIRD INVITATIONAL RECAP: Beljan won the Arizona State University Thunderbird Invitational, shooting a 4-under 68 in the final round to finish the tournament 15 strokes under par (66-67-68=201). As a team, the Lobos posted a three-round total of 857 (291-277-289), seven strokes under par and an eighth place finish. The ASU Thunderbird Invitational marks his third win of the year and his opening round 66 tied a career low. His three-round total of 201 is also is also a career low for a tournament. Sophomore Steve Saunders finished tied for 23rd (71-67-77=215, -1) after stumbling to a final round 77. He started the day tied for fifth after posting under par rounds in the first two days of action. His 5-under 67 in the second round tied a career low. Sophomore Parker Pemberton (80-79-73=232, +16) shot a 1-over 73 today while fellow sophomore Kyle Nielsen (78-72-74=224, +8) and junior Robb Bierbaum (76-71-74=221, +5) both carded 74s in the final round.
NATIONAL INVITATIONAL RECAP: UNM 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. Arizona State's Niklas Lemke won the event at 9-under par. Saunders posted his second straight 70 in the third round. 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 at 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. 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 for 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: UNM 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. 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 the final round. 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: UNM 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). Junior Rob Bierbaum and sophomore Steve Saunders both shot even-par 72 in the final round but both did it in different ways. 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.