April 25, 2013
On a blustery day in the California desert, the University of New Mexico women's golf team had a rough go of it in the first round of the Mountain West Championships. The Lobos find themselves in seventh place after struggling to a 35-over 323 at the Mission Hills Country Club's Dinah Shore Course (par 72, 6,234 yards) in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
The worst news is the Lobos trail first-round leader Fresno State by 17 shots entering Friday's second round. The Bulldogs are at 306. Surprising Boise State, the lowest ranked team in the eight-team field at 161st nationally, is second at 310. UNLV, the only MW school ranked in the top-50 at No. 43, is fourth at 314.
Playing at the same site as the LPGA's Kraft Nabisco Championship earlier this month, UNM had a decent showing on the front nine by making the turn in 14-over. However, the back side proved more of a challenge as the Lobos were a collective 21-over on the final nine holes. Winds were gusting up to 35 m.p.h. throughout the day.
"The conditions were difficult, but all eight teams played in it," said UNM head coach Jill Trujillo. "We've dug ourselves a pretty big hole after just one round."
Junior Manon De Roey posted the Lobos' low round of the day, a 3-over 75 (38-37). She is tied for fourth, two shots out of the lead held by Colorado State's Emily Roering (73).
UNM junior Sammi Stevens finished her round with a nightmarish seven straight bogeys en route to a 6-over 78 (35-43), tied for 13th. The 43 is her highest nine-hole score of the season.
Entering the championships with a team-best scoring average of 74.62, Stevens held the early lead after a birdie at the par-5 9th moved her to 1 under on the day.
Stevens has been the Lobos' top finisher in seven straight tournaments and has placed third in two of the past three competitions.
It was a tough day for the league's top two golfers. UNLV's Dana Finkelstein, statistically the MW's No. 1 player with a stroke average of 74.35, soared to an 81.
The second round begins Friday at 8:30 a.m. Mountain Time.