UTEP's Pelletier finishes second at New Mexico-West Texas Amateur
UNM Lobo Joins Brother As Only Siblings To Claim Sun Country’s Largest Crown
El Paso, TX — The 2014 New Mexico – West Texas Amateur Championship took a turn towards the nostalgic Sunday afternoon at The Canyon Club in Albuquerque, N.M. The field watched as the Duke City’s own Sam Saunders raced wire-to-wire to engrave his name on the Championship trophy alongside his brother Steve to become the first set of siblings to do so.
The soon to be senior at the University of New Mexico strung together rounds of 64, 74 and 66 to separate himself from the field.
“This feels great cause I’ve got second so many times,” said Saunders. “I’ve won a few team events and finished second here the last two years. So, it feels great to finally win an individual championship. I hope there’s a bunch more coming.”
And, there most likely is as Saunders really has come into his own this summer after qualifying for the U.S. Amateur Pub Links Championship and making it to sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open. This win could very well be the tipping point for Saunders individual career and with his win he claims a spot in the Pacific Coast Amateur Championship where he’ll represent the Sun Country Amateur Golf Association.
On Saunders’ heels over the course of 54 holes was the NMWT Am defending champion, Jere Pelletier of El Paso, Texas. In the end though, Pelletier came up just four shots short after closing to within two shots midway through the final nine holes. At last year’s Championship, Pelletier had started the trip down memory lane as he joined his father Mark on the championship stage becoming the first father and son to have claimed the NMWT Amateur. The University of Texas at El Paso senior-to-be was just unable to close the gap after Saunders started out hot birdieing three of the first five holes of the final round.
Saunders now joins an impressive list of winners like Tommy Armour III, Bart Bryant, Rich Beem, D.J. Brigman and others who have won more than $28 million on professional tours.
The top 10 for this year’s event is as follows:
1 Sam Saunders Albuquerque, N.M. 64-74-66 – 204 12-under
2 Jere Pelletier El Paso, Texas 70-70-68 – 208 8-under
3 Luke Condon Monte Vista, Colo. 70-72-71 – 213 3-under
T4 Kenneth Fadke Hobbs, N.M. 72-73-70 – 215 1-under
T4 Greg Condon Monte Vista, Colo. 71-72-72 – 215 1-under
T4 Devin Miertschin El Paso, Texas 70-73-72 – 215 1-under
T7 Zach Adams Las Cruces, N.M. 75-74-71 – 220 4-over
T7 Justin Knauber Albuquerque, N.M. 70-75-75 – 220 4-over
9 Kevin Sivage Albuquerque, N.M. 74-76-71 – 221 5-over
T10 Evan Macias El Paso, Texas 76-74-72 – 222 6-over
T10 Sean Carlon Albuquerque, N.M. 70-74-78 – 222 6-over