JOHN BURNS INTERCOLLEGIATE
First-round team leader: California (-10)
UNM standing: fifth place (E)
First-round individual leader: Erik Oja, Arizona (-6)
Gavin Green (-1)
Andrej Bevins (E)
Sam Saunders (E)
Victor Perez (+1)
Joe Abella (+1)
Mitch Johnson (+9)
Live scoring: Golfstat.com
In Lihue, Hawaii, The 15th-ranked University of New Mexico men’s golf team played 14 holes of outstanding golf on Wednesday.
As UNM coach Glen Millican, noted, however, the Lobos still have to learn how to finish.
A collective 8-over par on hole Nos. 15-18 dropped the Lobos to even-par 288 and in fifth place after the first round of the John Burns Intercollegiate.
UNM trails third-ranked California by 10 strokes. The Bears played their final four holes at 1 over par and shot a 10-under 278. All five Bears played the first round under par, contributing to their seven-stroke lead over Arizona (3-under 285).
“There were bogeys all over the course,” Millican said. “But the ones that stick out are the ones you have when you have a good round going. Finishing is something that we have to get better at. We’re aware of it, and we’re working on it.”
The Wildcats had the day’s low scorer in Erik Oja, who shot an 8-under 64 for a three-shot lead over Cal’s Joel Stalter.
Sixth-ranked Texas A&M is third in the 17-team field at 2-under 286, and No. 38 BYU is fourth at 1-under 287.
A trio of Lobos had low scores going into the last four holes. Junior Gavin Green was at 4-under until bogeys on Nos. 15-17 dropped him to 1-under for the round and a tie for 10th. Junior Sam Saunders and true freshman Andrej Bevins both dropped two shots during that span to send them back to even-par 72 and a tie for 18th place.
“Everybody bogeyed (No.) 17,” Millican said. “It’s a short par-4, and Gavin and Sam got on the wrong side of the flag and three-putted. The round was similar to the first round we had at Tucson (in the Arizona Intercollegiate) in January.
“The good thing is that we have a day to think about how to fix our mistakes, unlike Tucson, where we had to play the second round right away.”
Junior Victor Perez finished with a 1-over 73 and is tied for 30th. Redshirt freshman Mitch Johnson, who is playing for the first time as a member of the five-man team involved in scoring, may have showed some nerves and shot a 9-over 81.
Sophomore Joe Abella, competing as an individual, tied Perez with a 1-over 73.
“We played pretty solid on the par-5s,” Millican said. “If we can do that again (Thursday) and eliminate some of the mistakes we made late, there’s no reason to think we can’t go out and shoot a great round.
The second round gets underway at 11 a.m. MT, with UNM starting on hole No. 10. The tournament concludes on Friday.
Live scoring is available on Golfstat.com.