Led by Smith, Aggies Sit Atop Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate Leaderboard

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LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Led by steady play from junior Garrison Smith, the NM State Aggies lead the Herb Wimberly Intercollegiate at the end of the second round of play at the windy NMSU Golf Course.  

Smith, a 2021 Second Team All-WAC selection, opened play Monday with a strong round of 67. After the opening 18 holes, Smith trailed Tiger Christensen of Oklahoma State by three shots. Christensen, powered by an ace on hole 17, fired an opening round 64 (-7).

Playing the second round of 18 holes Monday afternoon, Smith and Christensen continued to battle shot-for-shot, as the Oklahoma State individual shot a blistering 66 to increase his lead from three shots to five.

Smith used a pair of birdies on each nine and just one bogey overall to fire a solid round of 68. Smith and Christensen were two of seven players in the 76-team field to fire a sub-par second round.

Led by Jake Stevensen’s opening round 67, Incarnate Word (281, -3) led the Aggies (282, -2) by one shot heading into the second round. Stevensen signed an incorrect scorecard at the end of round two, and was disqualified. As a result, UIW’s team score rose from 573 to 589, taking the Cardinals from second to a tie for fourth.

Other Aggie highlights included Alvaro Morales firing an opening round 68, to finish the day at 141 (-1),  and Cooper Sears firing rounds of 72 and 75 to finish at 147 (+5). Morales sits tied for fourth with Hazen Newman (Oklahoma State) and Isaac Layne of Air Force.

The host Aggies enter Tuesday’s third and final round with a six-shot lead over Northern Colorado (+9). UTRGV, led by Leonardo Novella’s opening round 69, shot a combined team score of +12 to sit in solo third.

Western New Mexico and UIW sit tied for fourth at +21, followed by Air Force (+25), Houston Baptist (+27), Stephen F. Austin (+39), Western Illinois (+54) and Prairie View A&M (+63).

HEAD COACH MIKE DIRKS:
“Garrison hung in there and played great golf. And then, Alvaro [Morales] played solid too. But other than those two, we need to improve. We need better scores at player three, four and five, especially considering the fact that we’re playing at home. We play in the wind a lot here so we should know that. The greens were a little different, but we should have been able to navigate the course better than we did today. We struggled. Hopefully, we learn from today. We need to be motivated and bring good energy in order to win tomorrow.”

On what his squad needs to do to hold onto the lead:
“We talked to the guys about putting the pedal down and how we need to keep playing. We need to go out and win the tournament instead of having someone one ‘lose’ it for us. I challenged each player on our roster to shoot par or better. If we do that, we can see where that leaves us. We need to play tomorrow.”

On Smith’s performance:
“Garrison played great golf today, and he’s been playing some good golf. I hope tomorrow he can finish. If he learns how to do that consistently he’s going to be really good for us. It’s a big day for him and a big day for us. But I’m proud of the way he played.”

UP NEXT:
The Aggies close out the third and final round of their home tournament tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m.

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