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Lobos, Green Get Tucker Triumph

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UNM Rolls To 29-Stroke Victory

Tucked behind a tree on the 18th hole, New Mexico’s Gavin Green faced a difficult situation Saturday.

Rather than trying to pull the miracle shot out of his bag, however, Green played it safe, chipping back to the fairway. He saved the miracle shot for a moment later.

That’s when he rolled in a 30-foot putt to clinch the individual title Saturday in the William H. Tucker Invitational at the UNM Championship Course.

It was the capper on the day as the Lobos lapped the field in the team competition. UNM coach Glen Millican believes the 29-stroke margin of victory is a tournament record.

No. 10-ranked UNM finished with a 15-under 849, well ahead of runner-up No. 21 Colorado. New Mexico State finished 12th in the 14-team field.

Green’s birdie on the 560-yard, par-5 18th gave him a 3-under 69 on the day and a 3-round total of 7-under 209. He finished one stroke in front of Minnesota’s Erik Van Rooyen and three ahead of UNM teammate John Catlin, who carded the day’s best round with a 5-under 67.

Although it was the 10th time New Mexico has won the tournament, it has not done so since 2006, which was also the last time a Lobo claimed medalist honors.

“Six years is a long time to go without winning,” Millican said. “We’ve had some years where we’ve played really well. But with the field we typically get, it’s hard.”

It was anything but hard for New Mexico this time, however, as it held a 13-stroke lead going into the day.

“They know how to play the golf course,” Millican said. “And they knew we had a 13-stroke lead. They just played a great round of golf all three (rounds). It was fun to watch them do that.”

With the team tournament all but decided early, attention turned to the individuals.

“That was a special putt,” Millican said of Green’s. “What a finish.”

Green said he knew he was going to give the putt a good run, but almost came up a roll short.

“I knew the worst I could do was par,” he said. “When I hit it, I thought it would be close, but I thought I might not have hit it hard enough.”

But it had just enough to drop in, and he responded with a Tiger Woods-like fist pump to celebrate.

It all made for a happy group of Lobos.

“It’s always fun to win this tournament, so it’s a great day for us,” Millican said.
— This article appeared on page D4 of the Albuquerque Journal

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