In El Paso, Texas, the Western Refining Sun Bowl College All-America Golf Classic officially turned into a Green event on Tuesday.
University of New Mexico junior Gavin Green erased a four-stroke deficit over the final 13 holes of play and won the prestigious College All-America with an 11-under 202, finishing one stroke better than Alabama’s Cory Whitsett at the par-71 El Paso Country Club.
Green shot a 5-under 66 in the final round, going 5 under in the final 13 holes, to capture the tournament that features 21 collegiate All-America players from the 2012-13 season.
Whitsett, the second-round leader at 8 under, birdied holes Nos. 5-6 to go to 10 under par. Green, meanwhile, parred his first five holes and dropped from a second-place tie going into the final round to fifth place at 6-under.
But a birdie on No. 6 and an eagle on the par-5 ninth got Green back in contention. He birdied Nos. 13, 14 and 16 on the back nine before giving a shot back on No. 17. The round was enough to overcome Whitsett and the rest of the star-studded field.
Green finished with a 69-67-66=202 for his 11-under score. Whitsett (66-68-69=203) played the back nine at even-par with a bogey on No. 10 and a birdie on No. 13; he parred his last five holes.
Whitsett was part of the national champion Alabama team that defeated UNM 4-1 in the NCAA quarterfinal match-play round in June. He defeated now former Lobo John Catlin 5 and 4 when Catlin had a 1-under round through 14 holes.
On Monday it was Green’s turn to catch fire in the final round to win his third career collegiate event. His 66 during the final 18 holes was his low during the 2013-14 season. Green won UNM’s only match against the Crimson Tide last June in Alpharetta, Ga., defeating Trey Mullinax 5 and 4.
Anders Albertson of Georgia Tech finished third at 9-under 204, and California’s Michael Kim was fourth at 8-under 205. Texas A&M’s Tyler Dunlap, who was tied with Green at 6 under heading into the final round, tied UCLA’s Jonathan Garrick and North Florida’s MJ Maguire for fifth at 7-under.
The Lobos are off from team competition until Jan. 27-28 when they travel to Tucson, Ariz., to compete in the Arizona Invitational at The Golf Club at Vistoso.