New Mexico advances to Match Play semis

MARANA, Ariz. – New Mexico entered this year’s Callaway Collegiate Match Play Championship as the No. 15 seed in the 16-team field.

The thing is, the Lobos are not living up to that seeding. In fact, they are playing over and above that pre-tournament designation.

Completing the second round Monday morning, after play was suspended by darkness Sunday night, New Mexico made its way into the final four of the winner’s bracket.

After stunning No. 2 seed Washington 3-2 in the opening round, the Lobos came back and defeated 10th-seeded San Diego by an identical score.

Joining New Mexico in Monday’s semifinal round are USC, Colorado State and Texas A&M.

USC, the No. 8 seed, disposed of top-seeded Stanford, 3-2, to advance, and will face No. 12 seed Colorado State, a 3-2 winner over 13th-seeded Iowa. Texas A&M, the No. 3 seed and defending NCAA champion, takes on New Mexico after rolling past No. 6 seed UNLV, 4-0-1.

Unlike the NCAA basketball tournament, where the loser goes home, this event offers a loser’s bracket and insures that each of the 16 teams plays in four matches.

Come Tuesday, each team will be playing for a final position, from 15th place to first.

New Mexico’s march to the semis came with plenty of intense moments.

San Diego went on top early when Gunner Wiebe rolled past Brandon Putnam, 6 and 4, and Alex Ching downed John Catlin, 3 and 2.

But the Lobos charged back and won the final three matches, two going the full 18 holes. Nick Geyer defeated Jason Shano, 2 and 1, to get New Mexico on the board, and Travis Rose edged Kenneth McCready and James Erkenbeck slipped past Scott Brace, both by 1-up totals.

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