March 22, 2009
TUCSON, Ariz. -
Sophomore Gabe Maier highlighted the opening day of the 2009 National Invitational Tournament for the Wyoming Cowboy golf team by finishing in a 25th place tie with an even par two-round score on Sunday. The NIT, which is hosted by the University of Arizona, is being held at Omni Tucson National in Tucson, Ariz. The course, which is where the 2009 Mountain West Conference Championships will be held, measures 7,094 yards and plays to a par of 72.
Maier, who started the spring season by tying for 11th at last week's Barona Collegiate Cup, continued his hot start to the 2009 spring on Sunday. Maier opened the day with a tough first round score of 76. He then caught fire during the second round and shot a four-under par 68. His two-round total of 144 is tied for 25th in the 85-man field.
As a team, the Cowboys started the day with a tough first round score of 310 (+22). However, the Pokes rebounded and fired a second round 294 (+6). That combined score of 604 (+28) places them in 15th place.
Fellow Mountain West Conference members New Mexico and UNLV had the best first rounds in the field. New Mexico is currently is first place with a team score of 560 (-16) and UNLV is in second place with a score of 563 (-13). New Mexico had all five of their players finish in the top-25, while UNLV had three players in the top-10 and all five in the top-16.
Individually, New Mexico's Nick Geyer and Arizona's Philip Bagdade are tied for first place with identical scores of 137 (-7).
"It was good for our young team to play against a great field like this and on such a nice course," said UW head coach Joe Jensen. "We struggled in the first round but I am pleased with how we came back and were 16 strokes better in the second round. I am especially proud of Gabe. At this point we need leadership and it is nice to see Gabe stepping up to do that. He is very comfortable with game right now and that is evident in his play.
"It is nice to be playing where our conference championships will be held later this spring. It is also nice to see so many of our conference opponents in one tournament. There is no doubt this will benefit our team in the long run."
The 2009 NIT will conclude tomorrow with one round of 18-holes. The day will begin at 8:30 a.m. (MT).