Las Vegas, Nevada (March 10, 2011)–March is always a busy time for college golf in Las Vegas as both the UNLV women and men golf teams host home tournaments on Las Vegas golf courses. The women wrapped up the UNLV Spring Invitational at Boulder Creek Golf Club with a sixth-place finish while the men open up the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters March 11 at Southern Highlands Golf Club. Pepperdine won the lady's event while some of the nation's best teams and players will be playing in the men's tournament. —By Brian Hurlburt.
The UNLV women were paced by senior Therese Koelbaek finished with a 2-under par effort and in a tie for seventh place. The two-time All-American has not finished outside of the top-10 in a tournament this season. After a 2-under front nine, Koelbaek bogyed the 14th and 17th holes before finishing with a birdie on the par-4 18th to get back under for the round. Freshman Katerina Prorokova shot a 4-over par final round to finish in a tie for 22nd place. After going 3-over par through the first three holes on the front nine, Prorokova carded birdies on the fifth and sixth holes before finishing with a 38. Bogey’s on the 11th and 13th were followed by a string of five straight pars to end the back nine. Senior Alejandra Guacaneme tied for 30th with a final total of 12-over for the week. She shot a three-over 39 on both sides today with her lone birdie coming at the par-3 eighth.
The 2011 edition of the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters will feature Arizona (78), Arizona State (29), Baylor (57), California (22), Duke (19), Georgia (13), Georgia Tech (5), Oklahoma State (2), TCU (45), Texas (12), Texas A&M (10), Texas Tech (16), UCLA (1), UNLV (47) and USC (25). The event has become known as the Masters of college golf. “This is always a great week for us,” UNLV head coach Dwaine Knight said. “We are hosting the best of the best in the nation and that is what you want to play against as a competitor. The strength of the field is incredible and it is a great opportunity to play at home and see where we are at as a team. The golf course is set up at championship level, the greens are incredibly fast and placement of the ball is essential to being able to play aggressive golf. “Year after year, the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters gets ranked as the top field in the college golf – even over the national championship itself. That’s quite a statement. The credit goes to Southern Highlands and the support that we have here in Las Vegas for the tournament.”
At last year’s Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters, UNLV was the co-team champion with UCLA, marking the third straight team championship at the event for the Rebels. The winning team score was 35-over 899. UNLV has won the team title at the event nine times over the last 16 years. Last year’s medalist honors went to Arizona State’s Jesper Kennegard, who shot 3-over 219 and won by a stroke. UNLV’s lineup this weekend will consist of junior Derek Ernst, sophomore Kevin Penner, freshman Blake Biddle, junior Colby Smith and senior Jeremiah Wooding. Playing as individuals for UNLV will be freshman Nicholas Maruri, freshman Max Kraemer and sophomore Arthur Kim. Last year, Smith was UNLV’s top individual finisher at the event, finishing tied for 12th at 9-over. Wooding and Ernst also competed as part of the UNLV squad, finishing tied for 16th and tied for 29th, respectively, at 11- and 15-over. Penner also played (as an individual), finishing tied for 67th at 27-over. Live scoring of the tournament will be available on the internet courtesy of Golfstat through a link at UNLVRebels.com. Parts of this report courtesy of UNLV Sports Information.