News & ToursMay 30, 2013

UNLV, New Mexico wait and hope

__By Ryan Herrington

MILTON, GA.—__The waiting game begins for UNLV and New Mexico, the two teams having wrapped up their third rounds of the NCAA Championship this morning at Capital City Club's Crabapple Course at two-over 842 for the tournament. Both are hoping their 54-hole score will be good enough to sneak inside the top eight and earn a berth into match play by day's end.

The Rebels shot a eight-under 272 Thursday, with senior__Kevin Penner__ posting his third straight under-par round with a two-under 68. Penner finished the 54 holes at six-under 204, giving him a chance at the individual title as well as the afternoon wave begins play.

But the shot that UNLV fans will be remembering should the team advance is the eagle 2 from Kurt Kitayama on the 523-yard, par-4 ninth hole, his last of the day. Kitayama's approach his the flag stick and fell in the hole to give him a 67 for the day.

"I think today we just said heck, let's go play," said UNLV coach Dwayne Knight. "It's going to be a long afternoon, but I'm glad we've put ourselves in this position."

New Mexico, a dark-horse pick at the start of the week after winning five times during the 2012-13 season, including the Columbus Regional, shot its second straight under-par round (four-under 276). Sophomore Gavin Green posted a 66 to lead the charge. The Lobos put themselves in a tough spot after shooting an opening-round 12-over 292 that left them tied for 27th after 18 holes.

••••

Along with Penner in the clubhouse at six-under 204 after the morning wave was Auburn's Dominic Bozzelli. The senior from Pittsford, N.Y., closed with a bogey-free 66 in his final college round playing in the same threesome with Penner.

"Coming into the day I was just trying to shoot a good round for my team," Bozzelli said. "We knew we needed birdies today."

Bozzelli started on the 10th hole and felt that playing the back nine first helped him as he tried to post a number for the afternoon wave can chase.

"There are a lot of guys that still have to play this afternoon," Bozzelli said. "We'll see what happens."

More from The Loop