May 032009
 
Authors: Justin Warren

A disappointing 7 over in the final round Saturday afternoon led to a fifth place finish in the Mountain West Conference championship for the CSU men’s golf team.

The Rams ended the tournament just the way they began, shooting 291 as a team, leaving the team 2 over for the tournament on the par-71, 7,136-yard Catalina Course on the Omni Tucson National Golf Club in Tucson, Ariz.

“I’m extremely disappointed we didn’t play better today,” head coach Jamie Bermel said. “We were in a great spot. It was a little breezy today but we just didn’t do what we needed to do.”

TCU and San Diego State tied for first after a final round where TCU shot 4 over and San Diego State came in 3 under. The tie forced a playoff, with nationally ranked No. 16 TCU coming out on top to become the 2009 MWC champions. No. 22 SDSU, losing the tiebreaker, became the runner-up in the tournament shooting a three-round total of 8 under par.

Only one stroke behind first and second was No. 34 UNLV, shooting 7 under. No. 38 New Mexico was the final team to shoot under par with a 4-under performance to secure the fourth spot.

After the second round on Friday, the Rams’ hopes for a second consecutive MWC championship began to look promising.

In the second round, CSU moved into a tie for the third spot, seven strokes behind the leader TCU, shooting 12 under par. But their first and final rounds of 7 over put the Rams too far behind.

Steve Saunders of New Mexico took home the individual title with a three-round total of 9 under.

Freshman Zahkai Brown became the highest finisher for the Rams; tying for the 11th spot with James Erkenbeck of New Mexico shooting an even par. Brown was named the Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year for his efforts.

Brown’s brother, senior Zen Brown, concluded his final MWC championship in a tie for 16th with a 2-over-par total. Zen Brown and junior Dustin Morris were named to the MWC All-Conferenceteam after the tournament.

Junior Riley Arp, who concluded the first round in the top-10, fell in the final two rounds to 24th. Arp shot a total of 5 over in Friday and Saturday’s rounds to give him 4 over for the tournament.

Junior Bryce Hanstad bounced back in the second round, shooting 4 under after a first round of 3 over. However, a final round of 6 over placed Hanstad in a three-way tie for 27th.

After a 7-over-par first round, Morris climbed up in the rankings to finish 30th among the 45 competitors with a second and third round total of 1 under.

Now CSU must wait for an NCAA selection into the NCAA Regionals, which begins May 14. Selections will be made early this week and with a 32nd national ranking, the Rams’ season is likely to continue.

Men’s golf beat writer Justin Warren can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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