Open Announce

Watkins Makes the Cut at NCAA Championship as Lobos Finish 25th

by Steve Kirkland

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. –– The New Mexico men’s golf team continued play at the 2023 NCAA Championship on Sunday with the third round at Grayhawk Golf Club. The Lobos shot 11-over during the third round, their best round of the event, but did not make the cut for the final round and finished tied for 25th place in the 30-team field with a 40-over total through 54 holes. It was New Mexico’s best finish at the NCAA Championship in a decade since the 2013 squad reached the match play quarterfinals.

One Lobo will continue play on Monday for the final round of stroke play as junior Matthew Watkins made the cut as one of the nine best individuals on non-advancing teams. He is T-19th on the individual leaderboard at 1-over after shooting a 73 on Sunday. He will have a chance to become the first Lobo to post a top-20 finish at the NCAA Championship since Rob McMillan was eighth in 1996.

Carson Herron and Albert Boneta tied for the best round of the day for UNM, each shooting a 2-over 72 on Sunday. Brandon Shong shot 74, his best round of the week, while Bastien Amat rounded out the lineup with a 77.

“It’s always good when your last round is the best of the week,” said head coach Glen Millican. “This championship is difficult golf. We did better today, but still didn’t do everything we needed to do to shoot the round we are capable of having out here. The biggest takeaway is that most of the time, success comes in steps. To make it through regionals and play here is a great step. We were ranked in the mid 60s at the end of the fall and to improve all spring to have a top-25 finish at NCAAs is a great accomplishment. Now next season, when five of the six guys who were out here are back, the NCAA finals aren’t a hypothetical anymore. They know what it takes to get here and now have first-hand knowledge of how challenging this event can be. They can use that knowledge all year long to prepare for this stage and also teach the younger players too.”

The final round of stroke play will be held Monday at Grayhawk Golf Club with Watkins among the 84 players vying for the individual national championship. The 15 teams that made the cut will also be competing for the eight match play quarterfinal positions. Coverage of the round will be on Golf Channel from 3-7pm MT.