JOHN BURNS INTERCOLLEGIATE
Second-round team leader: California (-16)
UNM standing: fourth place (+1)
Second-round individual leader: Justin Kelley, BYU (-10)
Andrej Bevins (E)
Sam Saunder (E)
Victor Perez (+1)
Gaving Green (+2)
Joe Abella (+10)
Mitch Johnson (+10)
Live scoring: Golfstat.com
In Lihue, Hawaii, even with its best player struggling, the 15th-ranked University of New Mexico men’s golf team moved up a spot at the John Burns Intercollegiate.
The Lobos turned in a 1-over 289 on Thursday and was at 1-over 577 after two rounds at the Wailua Golf Club to nestle into fourth place. Third-ranked California continues to lead the event with a two-round total of 16-under 560 after a 6-under 282 on Thursday.
No. 38 Brigham Young matched Cal’s 6-under score in the second round and is in second place with a 7-under 569, tied with sixth-ranked Texas A&M, which shot a 5-under 283 on Thursday.
Three Lobos turned in even-par rounds of 72 during the second round to help the team move up from fifth place after the first day of the 17-team event.
“We had three 72s and one 73; that kept us up near the top,” coach Glen Millican said. “We did a better job finishing today, with three guys getting birdies on No. 9 (UNM started on the 10th hole Thursday). At the Arizona Intercollegiate and now here, we’ve shown that we don’t have to rely on one guy to shoot a 65 for us to post a good score.”
Junior Sam Saunders and true freshman Andrej Bevins are tied for 18th at even-par 144s through the first two rounds. They trail individual leader Justin Kelley of BYU, whose 6-under 66 Thursday put him at 10-under 134 for the tournament.
Junior Victor Perez also shot a 72 Thursday and is tied for 23th at 1-over 145.
“Sam, Victor and Andrej had complete games today,” Millican said.
Junior Gavin Green, the 18th-ranked collegian by Golfweek.com, turned in a 3-over 75; his score didn’t count toward the UNM team score Thursday. He did play his last four holes at 1 under, so he may have found his game toward the end of the round.
“He’s struggling a little bit,” Millican said. “He had a tough day with his putter.
“He’s close, but his game is just a little bit off. It’s been a few things that have hurt him, but he finished well and maybe that will get him going (Friday).”
Green is tied for 31nd with a 2-over 146. He remains the only Lobo to post a round below par, having shot a 1-under 71 on Wednesday.
The comeback of the day belonged to UNM redshirt freshman Mitch Johnson, whose 1-over 73 Thursday was an eight-stroke improvement over his first-round score. It was the best improvement of the day, and Johnson is tied for 77th at 10-over 154.
“That was big for us because it saved us a couple of strokes on our team round with his being one of the four best scores,” Millican said.
Sophomore Joe Abella, competing as an individual, is tied for 77th at 10-over after a second-round 80.
Millican said he thought his team still was capable of making some noise on the final day of the tournament Friday.
“If Gavin gets things going the way we can, it’s going to help our team score,” Millican said. “But other guys out here are capable of shooting a low round, too. Certainly, we have the firepower we need; there’s no better time than (Friday) to put it together.”
The final round starts at 11:30 a.m. with a shotgun start. Live scoring is available on Golfstat.com.