Live scoring on golfstat.com
The University of New Mexico men’s golf team’s next assignment easily could be called an NCAA Championship primer.
To coach Glen Millican, it’s just the next tournament on the schedule.
The 11th-ranked Lobos travel to Windermere, Fla., to participate in the Isleworth Collegiate Invitational from Sunday-Tuesday, with 16th-ranked UCF and No. 46 Texas Tech serving as co-hosts. The 15-team event features 14 teams ranked in the Golfweek/Sagarin top 50 poll, including defending national champion and top-ranked Alabama, No. 4 California, No. 6 Illinois, No. 17 Texas and No. 33 UNLV.
Those four teams and UNM made up five of the eight teams that advanced to match play at the 2013 NCAA Championship.
“For us, it’s another opportunity to learn from a different situation,” Millican said. “Because of some of the teams in this field, there is a tendency to make a bigger deal out of this tournament than some of the others that we’ll play in the fall. It’s an opportunity to handle a different type of distraction if we get paired with some of those big-name teams; there’s always a chance to get caught up in the moment.”
The Lobos so far this season have done an excellent job focused on the next shot and not worrying about the big picture. It’s what Millican preaches and what has helped the team win two of its first three tournaments this season.
UNM won the season-opening Gopher Invitational with a six-stroke victory over Baylor, and then turned an 11-stroke second-round deficit into an 18-stroke win at its own William H. Tucker Intercollegiate at the end of September.
“I’m very happy with the way we’ve started,” said Millican, who has 24 tournament victories during his 13-year Lobo career – seven wins coming in the last 15 tournaments. “We’ve had a few new guys play in the first few events, and they’ve responded well.”
True freshman Andrej Bevins has enjoyed the strongest start among the newcomers, buoyed by his first-place individual tie with junior Gavin Green at the Tucker Intercollegiate. He is currently ranked No. 60 in the Golfweek/Sagarin collegiate individual standings.
Junior Sam Saunders and sophomore Dylan Healey will be the other two Lobo newcomers competing in Florida.
Green, No. 9 in the individual rankings, and junior Victor Perez continue to serve as the anchors of the unit.
“Gavin has been playing great,” Millican said. “He probably would like to be putting better, but his game has been solid and consistent.”
Perez altered his swing in the offseason but hadn’t been getting the results for his efforts – until he carded a 4-under 68 in the final round of the Tucker.
“He hit 15 or 16 greens in regulation (during that final Tucker round), and that’s evidence that he’s getting there,” Millican said. “He just needs to continue to work on it, and the results will come.”
The 54-hole event features 18 holes of golf each day on the par-72, 7,387-yard course at the Isleworth Golf and Country Club. Tee times are set for 8 a.m. MT off hole No. 1 and 8:25 a.m. MT from hole No. 10. Live scoring for the event is available on Golfstat.com.