UNLV Golf Report: Ernst is Player of the Month, Koelbaek Top 10

Derek Ernste had a scoring avg. of under 70 in February. Las Vegas, Nevada (March 6, 2010–Both the UNLV Men's and Women's golf teams are in full swing in the 2010 Spring season, and both are looking ahead to home events played at Las Vegas golf courses. And each team has some golfers playing well and earning recognition, especially the men's team and star player Derek Ernst. Ernst was recently named Mountain West Conference Golfer of the Month for the third-straight time. And Therese Koelbaek recorded a top 10 at the Wave Invitational.–Staff and UNLV Report.

In the second tournament of the month, Ernst, who leads the MWC in scoring average (70.16) this season and is the seventh-ranked individual in the nation by GolfStat, finished second out of 84 golfers and led No. 14 UNLV to the team title at the John Burns Intercollegiate in Wahiawa, Hawaii. It was UNLV's third team title of the season. He shot under par all three rounds and carded a 10-under 206 (68-69-69) on the par 72, 6,917-yard Leilehua Course. It marked his fourth top-five finish in seven events this year. Up next for the Rebels is the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters, the best tournament in college golf. There is also a Twitter page for the tournament. The tournament committee at Southern Highlands is again going all out to put on a great event. The link is here (http://twitter.com/SHCM_2010). Southern Highlands is a private Las Vegas golf facility created by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and Sr., and is the home Las Vegas golf course for the UNLV golf team.

Ernst, from Clovis, Calif., opened the spring season with a 29th-place finish at the Arizona Intercollegiate held at the Arizona National Golf Course in Tucson. He carded one round at par and one under par (69) before finishing the 54-hole tournament with an even par 213 (71-69-73) on the par 71, 6,793-yard course. Ernst had a scoring average of 69.83 for the month of February and shot under par on five of his six rounds played.

UNLV junior Therese Koelbaek finished tied for 10th at the inaugural Wave Bruin Invitational, as she paced the Rebel women’s golf team to an 11th-place finish at the event, which concluded Wednesday at the Robinson Ranch Golf Club. Koelbaek rolled in a final-round score of two-over 74, her third consecutive round in the 70s, and she finished inside the top 10 with a 54-hole score of 1-over 217 (70-73-74). Koelbaek was at 1-under par through 14 holes, and although she played the last four holes at three over, it was still good enough to finish among the tournament leaders.

UNLV had a team score of 906 (+42), which was just one shot behind Oregon, which finished 10th overall in the 18-team field that featured seven teams in the latest Golfweek top-25 poll, including top-ranked Arizona State, No. 2 UCLA, No. 7 Pepperdine, No. 9 USC and No. 10 Arizona. USC won the team title with an 866 (+2), two shots ahead of Arizona State. Danielle Kang of Pepperdine earned medalist honors with a total of 208 (-8), three strokes better than her closest competitor. “It was a very disappointing day,” Ringler said. “We felt really good about the first two rounds and how we performed. We need to be able to take that feeling through to the final round. I am really happy with Therese’s performance as well. She is off to a good start this spring.”

UNLV head coach Missy Ringler said her team played well for two rounds but could not close out strong on the final day of the tournament. The Rebels opened the final round tied for eighth, but could not move up the leaderboard on Wednesday. The Rebels now return home and will host their second tournament of the season, the UNLV Spring Invitational at Boulder Creek Golf Club in Boulder City, Nev., on March 8-10.

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