May 16, 2013
Team Leaderboard: 1. Charlotte (3-over 287); 2. South Carolina (4-over 288); 3. Stanford (7-over 291); 4. UNLV (8-over 292); 5. Auburn (9-over 293); T6. New Mexico, Missouri (10-over 294); 8. San Franciscco (13-over 297); 9. Georgia Southern (14-over 298); 10. Texas Tech (15-over 299); 11. Virginia (19-over 303); 12. Chattanooga (20-over 304); 13. Valparaiso (25-over 309)
Individual Leader: Raoul Menard, Charlotte, 4-under 67
Lobo scores: Gavin Green, even-par 71 (tied for eighth); James Erkenbeck, 1-over 72, (tied for 10th); John Catlin, 4-over 75 (tied for 32nd); Victor Perez, 5-over 76, tied for 46th; Benjamin Bauch, 10-over 81 (tied for 69th)
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The University of New Mexico men's golf team finds itself in an all-too-familiar spot at the NCAA regional tournament. Fortunately for the Lobos, there's still golf let to play.
The fifth-ranked Lobos struggled with the unfamiliarity of the Scarlett Course at The Ohio State University Golf Club through the first nine holes of the NCAA Columbus Regional, couldn't buy a birdie on the back nine and settled for a 10-over par 294 for a sixth-place tie Thursday.
UNM trails first-round leader Charlotte (3-over 287) by seven strokes, but more importantly finds itself one stroke out of the top five. The five best scores among the 13 teams after the 54-hole regional will advance to the NCAA Championship in two weeks.
The Lobos finished in sixth place in both the 2009 and 2012 regionals, missing out on nationals by a single stroke.
"We played OK, but it's just so hard to make birdies," UNM coach Glen Millican said. "Coming into the tournament, we had no idea what a good score would be or how other teams would play. We're still a long way away from the end of the tournament, so we just have to come out tomorrow and try to play the best round we can."
Charlotte got off to a sizzling start Thursday, playing the first four holes at 8 under, and kept the lead the entire round.
"That definitely gave them a buffer," Millican said of Charlotte's start. "Playing at 3 over is a great round on this course."
No. 10 Stanford is third with a 7-over 291. Fellow Mountain West member on 30th-ranked UNLV is fourth at 8-over 292, and No. 19 Auburn is fifth at 9-over 293. The Lobos, the top seed in the region, is tied with No. 32 Missouri.
Sophomore Gavin Green paced the Lobos with an even-par 71 and is tied for eighth in the 75-player field after the opening round. He trails Charlotte's Raoul Menard by four strokes in the individual competition.
Green got off to a fast start with three birdies over his first six holes and was 2 under par after the turn. The Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia native who is known for his long drives, had an uncharacteristic bogey on the par-5 12th hole and came in at 2 over the final nine holes.
As a group, the Lobos had just one birdie on the back nine, but also 12 bogeys.
"Par is a very good score here," Millican said.
Senior James Erkenbeck, who had UNM's lone birdie on the back nine, is tied for 10th at 1-over 72.
Senior John Catlin is tied for 32nd with a 4-over 75 that included a double-bogey on the ninth hole. The team collectively had three double bogeys to go along with 10 bogeys and seven birdies on the front nine.
"James and Gavin played well today," Millican said. "John and Victor didn't play that bad. "Victor got in trouble on No. 3 and had a double-bogey. John did the same on No. 9 and had a double-bogey. Those are half their scores right there.
"When you make a mistake, it's very hard to make up for it because there aren't a lot of birdie opportunities."
Second-round action continues Friday with the Lobos starting on the 10th hole at 6 a.m.