It wasn’t the start the University of New Mexico women’s golf team was counting on Monday.
But the Lobos had a pretty nice finish on a very toasty day at the 39th annual Branch Law Firm/Dick McGuire Invitational on the UNM Championship Golf Course, and worked their way into a tie for ninth place.
After the 11-hour, 36-hole day was over, UNM was nine shots behind 36-hole leader and defending tournament champion Oklahoma State.
The 54-hole, 18-team event concludes today with a shotgun start at 7:30 a.m., meaning all teams will tee off on different holes at the same time.
“I wouldn’t so much say we struggled in the first round,” said UNM coach Jill Trujillo, whose team opened with a 7-over-par 295, fell to 13th place late in the second round, then put on a late burst to finish 295-289 for an 8-over-par 584 total. “We just had a few bad holes.
“Ingrid (Gutierrez) had a couple of bad holes. And she’s a senior, so she wants to play well so bad. Once she got it back to neutral and started playing golf, things started go much better for her. All and all, it was a pretty good 36-hole day for us.”
Especially Lobo junior Darian Zachek. While Gutierrez rallied to shoot 72 in the second round after opening with a 77, it was Zachek who had the team’s best day.
The former New Mexico state high school champion from Deming shot a 3-under 69 in Monday morning’s first round and an even-par 72 in the afternoon.
She is tied for third place at 3-under, but a fat seven shots behind Arizona’s Bianca Pagdanganan (67-67).
“I feel really good about the way I played all day, but (seven) shots is a lot to make up,” Zachek said with a smile. “That’s probably the best I’ve hit the ball in two straight rounds since I’ve been (at UNM). And it’s really a good sign the way we came back as a team.”
Trujillo said Zachek narrowly missed a number of putts in the second round, “but she hit the ball every bit as well as she did in the first round.”
UNLV hit the ball extremely well in the first round, shooting a 2-under 286 for a four-shot lead over 2017 NCAA runnerup Northwestern. The Lobos were in ninth, nine shots back.
While New Mexico made up all nine shots on the Rebels — the two are tied for ninth heading into today — a number of teams got hot, figuratively and literally, on Monday afternoon.
Oklahoma State, which was in third at 291 after the morning round, had one of four 284s in the afternoon for a 575 and a one-shot lead over Arizona (292-284). Colorado (293-284) is another shot back in third at 577 while Northwestern is in fourth at 578.
Gutierrez had one bad hole on her first 18, making a triple-bogey 7 on No. 10. She is tied for 53rd individually at 5 over.
Lobo sophomore Reva Morris also had one bad hole in the morning with a quadruple-bogey 9 on No. 9 to shoot 79, but came back with a sparkling 1-under 71 in the afternoon and is tied for 60th at 6 over.
UNM senior Alexandra Moisand (74-74) is tied for 47th at 4 over while junior Emma Edwards (75-78) is 9 over.
The top four scores each round count towards the team total.
New Mexico got two very nice rounds out of freshman Caroline Jansson (74-72), who is playing as an individual, meaning her score doesn’t count towards the team score. Lobo freshman Zoey Akagi-Bustin (80-79) is also competing as an individual.