Lobo Golf Men Retain 4th at Collegiate Masters
March 9, 2013 (Updated 6:40 p.m.)
By Greg Archuleta
UNM Assistant Director of Communications
LAS VEGAS, Nev. - Sophomore Victor Perez shaved eight strokes off his first-round score on Saturday; his team couldn't quite do the same to keep up with top-ranked California.
The fifth-ranked University of New Mexico men's golf team shot a 2-over 290 on Saturday to retain fourth place after 36 holes of the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters. UNM's 581 total score (291-290) left it 16 strokes behind the Bears, who shot at impressive 8-under for a two-day total of 566 (285-280) and a 11-stroke lead over No. 13 Stanford (286-287=576).
"If I hadn't already seen California do that about 15 times this season, I'd be surprised," UNM coach Glen Millican said. "They're a great team, and they've been playing this way all year."
No. 3 Alabama is third at 1-over 577 (289-288) in the 15-team event, in which all the schools are ranked in the Golfweek.com/Sagarin rankings. No. 6 UCLA is fifth at 6-over 582 (291-291).
The Lobos got off to a strong start and got as low as 4-under during the front nine, with sophomore Gavin Green shooting 2-under and senior James Erkenbeck 1-under after nine holes. UNM cooled off in the back nine, allowing Cal to create separation.
Erkenbeck shot an even-par 72 Saturday and is tied for second place individually with a 3-under 141. He trails leader Patrick Rodgers (66-73=139) of Stanford by two strokes.
"James had another really solid round of golf," Millican said. "He's put himself in a great position for Sunday."
Lobo senior Benjamin Bauch is tied for 28th at 4-over 148 (75-73). Green finished at 5-over 149 (76-73) and is in a group tied for 36th; that group includes UNM senior John Catlin (71-78). Perez is tied for 54th after his even-par 72 left him at 8 over for the tournament (80-72=152).
"That's just a great comeback by Victor," Millican said. "It was big for us because John struggled on the back nine. Andther positive was the way Ben finished his round with two birdies in the last four holes."
None of the five Cal players is above par through the first 36 holes. Michael Kim, who shot a 4-over 76 on Friday, followed with a 5-under 67 for the low round on Saturday. That fueled the Bears, who had three other players shoot even or better. With each team's top four scores counting toward their daily score, the Bears were able to absorb Brandon Hagy's 3-over 75.
"As good as they played, what they do doesn't affect anything we do," Millican said. "We're still in a good position, and our guys know if they can put together a strong round, anything can happen. They just have to play their game, and we'll see where we stand."
The teams will start today's final round at the Southern Hills Golf Club at 9 a.m. Mountain Time (8 a.m. Pacific time).