Event: No. 14 Lobo men's golf team at the Arizona Intercollegiate
Location: Sewailo Golf Club,, Tucson, Ariz.
Date/Time: Monday (36 holes) - Tuesday (18 holes), 8 a.m. shotgun start
Participating teams: No. 4, California, No. 14 New Mexico, No. 22 USC, No. 38 BYU, No. 49 Oregon State, host Arizona, Cal State Fullerton, George Washington, James Madison, Loyola Marymount, New Mexico State, Pacific, UC Riverside, UTEP
Live Scoring: Golfstat.com
The University of New Mexico men’s golf team has some things to figure out as it heads into the spring season.
Three things, actually.
The 14th-ranked Lobos travel to Tucson to play in the Arizona Intercollegiate, with 36 holes Monday and the concluding 18 holes on Tuesday.
UNM, which won two of five tournaments in the fall, enters the spring opener as the defending Arizona Intercollegiate champion. Last year, the Lobos handed the then-No. 1 California Bears their first tournament loss of the 2012-13 season.
But the playing field – or in this case, playing course – will even out this year as the event moves to a brand new course, the Sewailo Golf Club, co-designed by Albuquerque native Notah Begay III. The course opened just last month.
The defending champs also lost three of the five players that helped them win last year’s event. The Lobos have to get down to the business of determining their three other starters to play alongside juniors Gavin Green and Victor Perez that will help them when they get to the end of the season – the Mountain West championship and beyond.
“This is the first opportunity for several other guys to get one of the spots available,” coach Glen Millican said. “Figuring out (an established) lineup is definitely one of the things we want to accomplish.
UNM will bring eight players to Tucson. Juniors Sean Romero and Sam Saunders, and true freshman Andrej Bevins will fill out the five-player roster in the tournament. But sophomore Joe Abella, sophomore Dylan Healey and redshirt freshman Mitch Johnson will compete as individuals and get an opportunity to showcase their tournament skills.
“We need to find out which players are going to separate themselves,” Millican said, but our main goal remains to play well and try to win the tournament.”
It’s the first event for the Lobos as a team since the Royal Oaks Intercollegiate in late October, in which they finished fourth.
Millican said he noticed a bit of collective rust from the long layoff but is confident the team can get back into its routine relatively quickly.
“The scores during qualifying (to determine which Lobos would travel to Tucson) were OK,” he said. “It’s difficult this time of the year to shoot low scores just because the golf courses are a little more dormant this time of year. We still had a few rounds in the 60s.
“But we’ll find out where we’re at during the tournament.”