TUCSON, Ariz. – The Arizona men’s golf team will open the fourth of its five fall tournaments on Monday when it begins play at the two-day Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate in Vestavia Hills, Ala.
Alabama will host a loaded field at the par-70 Old Overton Country Club, with teams to play 36 holes on Monday and complete the event with 18 holes on Tuesday. In addition to the top-ranked Crimson Tide, Arizona will face off with No. 2 Texas A&M, No. 12 UAB, No. 16 UNLV, No. 17 Vanderbilt, No. 26 Texas, No. 28 Arkansas and 29th-ranked Auburn, among others, in one of college golf’s premier fall events.
“This is probably the deepest field we’ll face this fall,” Arizona head coach Jim Anderson said. “There are certainly some elite amateur players who are going to tee it up at the Pate, so we definitely have our work cut out for us in terms of the competition we’ll face.”
The Wildcats have a history of individual success at the JPNI, dating back to David Berganio’s win in 1992. Rory Sabbatini brought the JPNI individual medal back to Tucson in 1997, and current UA assistant coach Chris Nallen topped the JPNI field in 2002.
“Chris brings a wealth of experience from not only the professional level, but also from his college days,” Anderson said. “Having won there, Chris certainly knows how to get around Old Overton. We want to be able to take confident swings at the targets we pick, and Chris will certainly help us build a game plan that will best suit our team.”
Senior Erik Oja, who leads the team with a 72.50 scoring average and four rounds at par or better this season, will play in the No. 1 position for Arizona at the JPNI. He will take to Old Overton in search of his third top-10 finish in four starts this season.
“I think Erik has definitely separated himself as our No. 1 player and Alex has shown that he’s capable of playing some good golf,” Anderson said. “After that, there’s still some uncertainty in our lineup. That can be encouraging because we’re building our program based on competition from the bottom up, and guys on our team know that they have an opportunity to make the lineup at any time as long as they put in the work.”Live results for the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate will be available via golfstatresults.com. For more information on Arizona men’s golf, follow @UAWildcatsGolf on Twitter.