Tucson, Ariz. – The Arizona men’s golf team will travel to Tempe, Ariz. for the 42nd Annual ASU Thunderbird Invitational from March 21 through the 23rd. ASU will host a field of 14 at ASU’s Karsten Golf Course (par-71, 7,026 yards).
Each day will be designated for one round of 18 holes to make up a tournament total of 56 holes.
“We love taking our game on the road to compete in Phoenix,” head coach Jim Anderson said. “Adjusting to temperatures, weather, course conditions, and travel is usually fairly seamless. We get lots of support from local fans too when we are here. The guys understand the importance of each event and they will remain committed to sticking to our game plan, executing the best they can with each shot this week.”
The field of teams include Colorado State, Denver, Fresno State, Hawaii, Iowa, Iowa State, New Mexico State, Pepperdine, San Diego, St. John’s, Tulsa, Washington State and Wichita State.
“We know the importance of playing to win every week, regardless of the field of teams,” Anderson said. “Regardless of how we got to this position, we know it is imperative to beat as many teams as we can in the hopes of getting our .500 record up while chasing a ranking that will get us into the postseason. We know we need to play our best golf and if we do, we think we can beat any team on a given day.”
Arizona last won the tournament in 2006. The last time the Wildcats had an individual winner in the event was in 2005. Since then, UNLV won the tournament last season with a total of 17-under 835.
Traveling for the Wildcats will be the same five that have competed all spring. The No. 1 spot will be taken by senior Erik Oja, alongside Alex McMahon, Kolton Lapa, Benson Liu and Brenden Redfern.
“This is the same lineup we have used all spring so the boys are really finding a rhythm together,” Anderson said. “They are a close group and we have enjoyed putting a game plan in each week, with input from the team, designed to give us our best chance to play great golf.”
Arizona is coming off of a seventh place finish in the National Invitational Tournament. Despite a second place finish after the first day, the Wildcats were unable to stay in the top-five despite two top-20 finishes, including a 10th place tie for Oja. The Wildcats are looking to improve their record in hopes of qualifying for the regional competition.
“This week, we need to do a better job with our wedges," Anderson said. "The course usually does not play very long so you are usually given plenty of chances with scoring clubs. We did not take advantage of wedge opportunities so it will be a focus this week.”
There will be live three-hole scoring available at golfstatresults.com for the ASU Thunderbird Invitational. For continued coverage of Arizona men’s golf, follow on Twitter @UAWildcatsGolf and Facebook.com/ArizonaWildcatsGolf.