April 23, 2017
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TUCSON, Ariz. (UNLVRebels.com) - The No. 14 UNLV men's golf team shot a final-round 7-under-par 281 on Sunday to capture the 2017 Mountain West title by a shot at the Catalina Course at Omni Tucson National Resort (par 72, 7,194 yards).
It is the fourth MW team title for the UNLV men's golf program and also marks back-to-back conference championships for the Rebels.
"We have been close several times this year and it is really nice to have been able to push it over the top today." UNLV head coach Dwaine Knight said. "It's always great to win the conference. It is a goal of ours each year when we start.
"Having won last year and coming back trying to defend the title is never easy. It was a tough battle here today and there were a lot of teams in it right up until the end. There are a lot of really good teams in our conference, so we are really happy we were able to come out on top. I was really pleased with how we played today. During the closing holes, we played Rebel tough and that made the difference down the line."
UNLV came from two shots back and in a tie for second as Sunday's final round began to finish the 54-hole event at 18-under 846. The Rebels' final round of 7-under was the second-best of the day.
Colorado State finished the tournament in second place at 17-under, marking the Rams' best finish at the MW Championship since 2010, followed by Boise State, which turned in its best-ever finish in third at 16-under. San Diego State turned in its ninth straight top-five finish as it ended up fourth at 15-under, while New Mexico used Sunday's best score of 13-under to round out the top five with a three-round total of 14-under.
UNLV became the first MW program to win back-to-back titles since New Mexico did it in 2013 and 2014. The Rebels' four total MW titles (2000, 2002, 2016, 2017) are the second-most in league history, trailing New Mexico by two (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2013, 2014). The win also marked UNLV's second team title of the year and was its ninth top-five finish in 12 events this season.
"We've had many, many close battles over the years at the conference tournament," Knight continued. "We have also had our share of one-shot losses down here throughout the years. So it was really special to be able to get this one."
Boise State's Brian Humphreys earned individual medalist honors by two shots at 12-under 204 after a final-round 3-under. He became the first freshman to ever win the MW title. He held off his teammate Donny Hopoi, who finished second at 10-under after a final-round 5-under 67. Wyoming's Ryan Wallen, New Mexico's Andre Garcia and San Diego State's Gunn Yang all tied for third at 7-under.
Humphreys' 54-hole total was the second-best in MW Championship history. He was the lone player in this year's tournament to shoot all three rounds in the 60s.
UNLV was led by junior John Oda and sophomore Harry Hall. Oda tied for sixth at 6-under after a final-round 2-over, while Hall tied for eighth at 5-under after a final-round 2-under.
Other Rebels: junior Shintaro Ban and senior Taylor Montgomery both tied for 15th at 1-under. Ban shot 1-under on Sunday, while Montgomery was 4-under. Freshman Justin Kim tied for 28th at 2-over after a final-round even par.
"Taylor deserves a lot of credit," Knight added. "He is the only senior we have and he wasn't playing that well consistently lately. But the 68 he got today was absolutely huge for our team. It was a day that we really needed him. Being a local guy, I know it was a dream come true for him."
There were a total of 11 teams and 55 individuals competing.
By finishing ahead of Nevada, Reno in the standings (UNR finished sixth at 2-over), the Rebels earned three more points in the Governor's Series, presented by NV Energy and Barrick Gold. The competition between UNLV and UNR is in its fifth year and is a head-to-head athletic and academic challenge between the longtime rivals. UNLV won the first four Governor's Series competitions, but trails in this year's by a score of 18-15. To track the scoring, visit the Governor's Series page on UNLVRebels.com.
The 2016-17 All-MW Team will be announced later this week, while the field for the 2017 NCAA Men's Golf Regionals will be announced on Thursday, May 4.