Las Vegas, Nevada (March 11, 2013)–The defense rested, so to speak, for the UNLV golf team at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters. The event is the home tournament for UNLV, and the Rebels were team and individual defending champions. But they struggled to a 9th-place finish as a team, and Blake Biddle was unable to go back-to-back. California earned some revenge for their runner-up finish in 2012 as they went wire-to-wire in 2013. Biddle was the best Rebel, but could only manage a 25th place finish. –By Brian Hurlburt
Cal finished at 8-under 856 after a final-round 3-over 291. The Golden Bears finished 13 shots ahead of Alabama and New Mexico, which both tied for second at 5-over. UCLA finished fourth, while Stanford rounded out the top five at 12-over. The Rebels finished the 54-hole tournament at 28-over 892. The win was Cal's 8th of the season for the top-ranked team in America. The event was played at the prestigious Southern Highlands Golf Club, the Rebels official home course.
Individually, there was a four-way tie for first, but Stanford’s Patrick Rodgers won in a playoff with a birdie on the first extra hole. Rodgers, New Mexico’s James Erkenbeck, California’s Michael Kim and Alabama’s Cory Whitsett all finished the event at 4-under 212, three shots better than anyone else. All five Cal players finished in the top 11 of the event.
"We struggled in the beginning of the round, but on the back nine, I think we righted the ship," Cal Senior Max Homa (T7) told Golfweek. "It means a lot to get the win the arguably the three biggest tournaments of the year (The Preview, Isleworth and Southern Highlands). And that gives us a lot of confidence moving forward."
Other Rebel finishes included: Sophomore Kurt Kitayama shot even par during the final round and tied for 39th at 9-over 225, while freshman AJ McInerney shot a final-round 4-over to also finish tied for 39th. Senior Kevin Penner was 1-over during the final round at tied for 58th at 12-over 228, while sophomore Carl Jonson finished 64th at 15-over after a final-round 7-over.
The Rebels also had four players competing as individuals: junior Nicholas Maruri finished 61st at 13-over, freshman Zane Thomas tied for 66th at 17-over, senior Arthur Kim finished 32-over and sophomore David Flynn was 34-over. A total of 81 individuals competed at the event. UNLV will be back in action March 16-17 at the National Invitational Tournament in Tucson, Ariz. Click for full final results.