Las Vegas. Nevada (May 8, 2011)–The highlight of the week for UNLV golf was junior Derek Ernst earning the individual victory at the Mountain West Golf Championships. The team finished third. Also, the UNLV Women's team competed in the NCAA regionals, settling for a 21st-place finish. Lady Rebel sensation Therese Koelbaek finished in a tie for 18th in the final tournament of her Rebel career. Reports from Paul Pancoe and Andy Grossman, UNLV Sports Information.
Ernst entered the final round of the 2011 Mountain West Conference Men’s Golf Championship in a three-way tie for first place. After the final 18 holes on Saturday, he found himself in the same position. However, on the third hole of a three-way playoff, Ernst rolled in a birdie to win his first league title and became the fourth Rebel golfer to earn MWC Championship medalist honors. The others were Michael Kirk in 2000, Ryan Moore in 2004 and Eddie Olson in 2008.
The victory was the third of Ernst’s career as he also earned medalist honors at the William H. Tucker Invitational and the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate during the 2009-10 season. Saturday also marked the 10th time in his career he has recorded a top-five individual finish. Ernst was named last season’s MWC Golfer of the Year as well as a third team All-American. Ernst, Colorado State’s Ryan Peterson and New Mexico’s Travis Ross all turned in pars on each of the first two playoff holes after the trio tied for first after 54-holes at 6-under-par 207. Ernst took a one-stroke lead after sinking a birdie on the 16th hole, but bogeyed 18 to set up the playoff. Ernst shot a final-round 1-over 72, Peterson was 1-under 70 on the day, while Ross shot 2-under 69. San Diego State’s Alex Kang finished fourth at 4-under 209, two shots back.
As a team, the Rebels shot 10-over 294 during the final round to finish the tournament in third place at 2-over 854. San Diego State shot a 4-over 288 on Saturday, but held on for a two-shot victory, its first at the MWC Championship, at 5-under 847. TCU finished 3-under 849 after an even-par 284 during the final round. Colorado State finished fourth at 4-over, while New Mexico rounded out the top five at 6-over. BYU finished sixth at 8-over, followed by Utah at 22-over, Air Force at 23-over and Wyoming at 33-over. UNLV sophomore Kevin Penner was the second Rebel to finish in the top 10 at the event as he shot a final-round 2-over 73 to finish tied for seventh at 1-under 212.
Other Rebel scores: freshman Blake Biddle finished tied for 17th at 3-over 216 after a final-round 1-over 72, freshman Nicholas Maruri tied for 26th at 6-over 219 after a final-round 6-over 77 and sophomore Arthur Kim finished 45th at 37-over 250 after a final-round 16-over 87. The tournament was played at the Catalina Course at OMNI Tucson National Resort (par 71, 7,144 yards). The field for the NCAA Regionals will be announced on Monday, May 9, and the 2010-11 All-MWC Team will be announced the following day, on Tuesday, May 10.
The UNLV women’s golf team wrapped up action at the 2011 NCAA Central Regional, held at the Warren Golf Course on the campus of the University of Notre Dame. The Rebels, making their ninth straight appearance in just their 10th season as a program, carded a weekend-low round of 311 (+23). UCLA captured the regional title, finishing four strokes ahead of second place LSU. Minnesota was third while Arkansas was fourth, host Notre Dame fifth, Ohio State sixth, Stanford seventh and Wake Forest eighth, rounding out the teams that have qualified for play at the NCAA Championships in College State, Texas.
UNLV senior Therese Koelbaek was one of just nine players to turn in a round of even par or better in the final round, shooting a weekend-best 72. Koelbaek climbed 21 spots on the day and finished at 9-over for the tournament in a tie for 18th overall. Fellow senior Alejandra Guacaneme shot a final round 81 to finish 25-over for the tournament and in a tie for 95th. Ellis Keenan posted her best round of the week with a 5-over 77, finishing at 27-over in her first regional tournament. Bethany Glassford’s final round of 82 placed her in a tie for 117th while Katerina Prorokova turned in an 81 and moved three spots up the board