LOBO MEN’S GOLF
36-Hole Team Leaders: 1. UNM (281-282=563, -13); 2. Purdue (292-290=572, -4; T3 Baylor (283-290=573. -3); T3 Southeastern Louisiana (288-285-573, -3); 5. Rice (283-292=575, -1).
36-Hole Individual Leaders: T1 Victor Perez, UNM (67-70=137, -7); T1 Travis Wilmore, Louisiana Tech (68-69=337, -7); T3 Grade Brame, Southeastern Louisiana (67-71=138, -6); T3 Owen Taylor, Sacramento State (71-67=138, -6).
Other Lobos: T7 Sam Saunders (69-71=140, -4); T10 Sean Romero (74-68=142, -2); T19 Gavin Green (71-73-144, E); T38 Andrej Bevins (74-73=147, +3)
Today: Final round gets underway at 7:30 a.m., with a shotgun start. Live scoring on Golfstat.com.
In San Antonio, Texas, it’s hard to find fault with a golf team that takes a nine-stroke lead into the final round of an event.
But University of New Mexico men’s golf coach Glen Millican knows the postseason is around the corner and when a good round could’ve been a great round, there’s still work to be done.
Junior Victor Perez grabbed a share of first place with a 7-under 137 after 36 holes, and the 21st-ranked Lobos shot a 13-under-par 563 at the Lone Star Invitational on Monday to take a nine-shot lead over 44th-ranked Purdue.
UNM heads into Tuesday’s final 18 holes looking for its first win since September, when it captured its own William H. Tucker Intercollegiate.
“Anytime you play well, it’s a positive for your team,” Millican said. “We haven’t put ourselves in a position to win a tournament since (the Arizona Invitational in January, in which the Lobos were second going into the final round and finished third). It’s a good experience for us when we come out tomorrow with a chance to win.”
Perez shot a 5-under 67 in the opening round, tying for his lowest round of the season, and followed up with a 2-under 70 in the afternoon to tie for the lead with Louisiana Tech’s Travis Wilmore (68-69). They are one stroke ahead of Southeastern Louisiana’s Grady Brame and Sacramento State’s Owen Taylor.
Junior Sam Saunders is tied for seventh with a 4-under 140 (69-71) and junior Sean Romero is tied for 10th at 2-under 142 (74-68). Sophomore Joe Abella, competing as an individual, rebounded from an opening-round 75 to post a 4-under 68 in the afternoon and is tied for 16th at 1-under 143.
“Victor, Sam, Sean and Joe all played solid today,” Millican said. “It’s good to see Victor get a good round going in the morning; he did a great job.
“All six of our guys have played well at certain times; but at this time of the year, we’ve got to make the most of our opportunities.”
Junior Gavin Green turned in an even-par 144 (71-73) to tie for 19th, which isn’t bad. But Green, the No. 20 golfer in the country in the current Golfweek.com/Sagarin poll, is trying to find the dominant form he had last spring and the fall.
“He’s making about three or four small misses per round, where he’s just missing the ideal spot on the green or he’s not quite in the best spot on the fairway,” Millican said. “And so he’s not able to take advantage, which is frustrating him a little bit. He needs to get some momentum going and keep it going.”
True freshman Andre Bevins continues his streaky play, which Millican said could be an issue moving forward. Bevins led the tournament after the first 12 holes with a 5-under score. Bevins, however, played his next three holes at 7-over and finished the round at 2-over 74.
Bevins then started the first seven holes of the second round at 4 over before settling down to turn in a 1-over 73. Bevins was 5 under and 3 under during his last two rounds at the NIT on March 15-16, respectively, but ended up giving back three strokes in each round.
“He has to learn how to regroup after making a mistake,” Millican said. “It’s good to see him get off to the starts he’s having, but in the first round today, it took three holes to waste all the work he did up to that point. That cost us about three or four strokes during our first round, and those can add up over the course of a tournament.
“No one is more aware of that than Andrej, but he has to figure out how to regroup quickly after an errant shot.”
No. 28 Baylor and Southeastern Louisiana are tied for third at 3-under 573 after the first two rounds of the 15-team event at the Briggs Ranch Golf Club.
The final round gets underway at 7:30 a.m. Mountain Time with a shotgun start today.