Las Vegas, Nevada (May 5, 2013)–The UNLV Men's Golf team is riding a huge wave of success. Former player Adam Scott won The Masters, and this past weekend Derek Ernst, a rookie who graduated from UNLV in 2012, won the Wells Fargo Championship on the PGA Tour. And with the team's second-place finish at the Mountain West Conference Championship–ahead of state rival University of Nevada–clinched the inaugural Nevada Governor's Cup title for UNLV. Plus UNLV's Kevin Penner won the individual title, just two seasons following Ernst's conference title. –By Brian Hurlburt, Follow @LVGolfInsider
Penner duplicated his first-round score with a 4-under 67 during the final round on Sunday to earn medalist honors at the 2013 Mountain West Men’s Golf Championship, which was played at the Catalina Course at OMNI Tucson National Resort (par 71, 7,144 yards). With the win, Penner became the fifth UNLV golfer to win the Mountain West’s individual title and second in three years. Previous winners: Michael Kirk (2000), Ryan Moore (2004), Eddie Olson (2008) and Derek Ernst (2011).
Penner finished the event at 7-under 206, claiming victory by a stroke over New Mexico’s James Erkenbeck, who finished at 6-under 207 after an impressive final round of 6-under 65 (the low round of the tournament). Penner’s final round consisted of seven birdies and three bogeys. His winning birdie turned out to be on the par-3, 186-yard 17th hole.
UNLV sophomores Kurt Kitayama and Carl Jonson also turned in top-10 performances. Kitayama tied for eighth at even-par 213, while Jonson tied for 10th at 1-over 214. Each shot a final-round 2-under 69. As a team, UNLV shot a final-round-low tying 3-under 281 to finish tied for second with San Diego State at even-par 852. New Mexico also shot a final-round 3-under and won the tournament by eight shots at 8-under 844. Air Force finished fourth at 23-over, followed by Colorado State in fifth at 24-over. Fresno State was sixth at 30-over, Boise State and Wyoming both tied for seventh at 45-over and Nevada, Reno was ninth at 66-over.
Other Rebel scores: freshman AJ McInerney tied for 24th at 10-over 223 after a final-round 5-over 76 and junior Nicholas Maruri tied for 29th at 13-over 226 after a final-round 6-over 77. All nine MW schools were represented in the field, which was also made up of 45 individuals.
By finishing above Nevada, Reno in the standings, the Rebels earned three more points in the Governor’s Series, presented by NV Energy. The competition between UNLV and Nevada, Reno was established in October and is a head-to-head athletic and academic challenge between the longtime rivals. UNLV now leads the competition 28.5-10.5, clinching the inaugural title. Only nine points remain available (baseball, women’s track & field, APR).
The field for the NCAA Men’s Golf Regionals will be announced on Monday, May 6, and the 2012-13 All-MW Team will be announced on Thursday, May 9. Info courtesy UNLV Sports Information.