LOBO MEN'S GOLF
EVENT: National Invitational Tournament, Friday-Sunday
LOCATION: Tucson, Ariz., Omni Tucson National Resort
FIELD: 14 teams, including No. 2 Oklahoma State, No. 3 California, No. 9 Texas A&M, No. 20 New Mexico, No. 24 UNLV, No. 32 SMU, No. 36 San Diego State and No. 39 TCU
LOBOS COMPETING: Joe Abella, Andrej Bevins, Gavin Green, Victor Perez, Sean Romero, Sam Saunders
LIVE SCORING: Golfstat.com (9 a.m., all three days)
TUSCON, Ariz. -- It was the New Mexico Lobos’ turn to throw out a sizzling round and although UNM’s 279 didn’t match the 268 carded by California in the first round of the National Invitational Tournament, it did push the Lobos up the leader board into the No. 3 spot.
The Lobos dropped two golfers into the 60s – Sean Romero (67) and Sam Saunders (69) – to pace UNM to a two-day team card of 567. SMU holds down the No. 2 spot at 565 also having two golfers work their way into the 60s: Harry Higgs (67) and Ryan Burgess (66). SMU had the low round of the day with a 275.
The Mustangs, who had a first-round team card of 290, jumped past New Mexico, who had a team score of 288 over the first 18 holes.
The Cal Golden Bears have put themselves into position for the team win with a two-day card of 268-281—549 which makes the race for runner-up honors the most interesting battle heading into Sunday’s final 18 holes. The Bears are playing well and take a 16-shot lead into the final round.
SMU holds down the No. 2 spot at 565 – two shots ahead of the Lobos. San Diego State of the Mountain West is a single shot behind the Lobos at 568 and UNLV is four behind Lobo Coach Glen Millican’s Pack at 571 in a sixth-place tie with Arizona. Oklahoma State slides into the No. 5 spot at 570.
California’s Brandon Hagey, who torched the Omni Tucson National Resort with a first-round 64, was brought back to earth on Saturday with a 77 --- a 13-shot swing -- and he falls into an 11th-place tie.
The second-day leader, however, still hails from California as Michael Weaver tagged a 70 onto his first-day card of 67 and holds a one-shot lead over SMU’s Higgs (71-67—138) and Cal teammate Keelan Kilpatrick (69-69—138). Arizona’s Erik Oja, SDSU’s Xander Schauffele and Cal’s Joel Stalter are locked into the fourth position with 139s.
UNM’s Sean Romero used his 67 on Saturday to climb into a tie for the seventh spot at 140 and Saunders’ two-day card of 141 has him tied for the No. 11 spot. New Mexico’s Joe Abella, playing as an individual, also found some trouble on the second day and followed his first-round 68 with a 77 and has a two-day card of 145.
SMU and New Mexico both gained on California on Saturday. The Mustangs picked up six strokes and UNM picked up two shots on the Golden Bears. That doesn’t give either team much hope of catching California for the team title, so there are six teams looking at a shot at runner-up honors.
Well, unless the Golden Bears have a major collapse.