Las Vegas, Nevada (March 18, 2013)–The UNLV Rebels men's golf team isn't off to the start it was hoping for early in the Spring NCAA golf season. After not successfully defending its 2012 win in hits home event in Las Vegas recently–the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters–the Rebels finished 9th out of 16 team at the Don Puckette National Invitational Tournament played in Arizona. Sophomore Kurt Kitayama finished 22nd to lead the team. –By Brian Hurlburt with UNLV press release.

The UNLV men’s golf team shot a final-round 5-over-par 293 en route to the ninth-place finish at the event which was played at Omni Tucson National Golf Club (par 72, 7,200 yards). New Mexico fired a 9-under 279 during the final round to win the event by a shot at 20-under 844. TCU finished second at 19-under, while Oklahoma State finished third at 12-under. Arkansas was fourth at 9-under, followed by Texas A&M in fifth at 5-under. UNLV’s 54-hole total was 5-over 869.

TCU’s Julien Brun shot 3-over 75 during the final round, but hung on to win the individual title at 8-under 208. Texas A&M’s Ben Crancer finished second, one shot back, at 7-under. UNLV sophomore Kurt Kitayama shot 2-under 70 on Sunday to lead the Rebels with a tie for 22nd at even-par 216. Senior Kevin Penner finished 28th at 1-over 217 after a final-round 2-over 74. Sophomore Carl Jonson tied for 35th at 3-over, freshman AJ McInerney tied for 39th at 4-over, and junior Blake Biddle tied for 58th at 9-over.

UNLV will be back in action April 5-7, at the ASU Thunderbird Invitational in Tempe, Ariz. UNLV is a perennial golf power, and several alumni currenlty play on the PGA Tour including Ryan Moore, Charley Hoffman, Bill Lunde, Adam Scott, and Chris Riley.

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