Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Men's Golf Travels to Hawaii for the John A. Burns Intercollegiate
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: February 21, 2001
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    On the Tee: The Wildcat men’s golf team travels to Hawaii to compete in the John Burns Intercollegiate. It is the second spring event for the squad and its last until early April. The Cats will be idle for nearly six weeks before its next scheduled competition, the U.S. Collegiate Championships, on April 6-8 in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

    The Rankings: The Wildcats remain ranked in all three major college golf polls. The Cats are ranked No. 10 in the MasterCard/CGF poll, No. 10 in the Golf World poll and No. 21 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. Individually, one Wildcat golfer is ranked nationally. Ricky Barnes, the 2000 National Freshman of the Year, is ranked 20th in the MasterCard/CGF poll.

    John A. Burns Intercollegiate Facts: The Leilehua Golf Course is the site of the 25th annual John A Burns Intercollegiate, Feb. 21-23. The 54-hole event will be contested on the par 72, 6,917-yard layout with 18 played each day. Nineteen teams are scheduled to compete in the event, including four teams ranked in the nation’s top 25. In addition to Arizona, he field includes: Auburn, California, Colorado State, Fresno State, Hawaii, Hawaii-Hilo, Nagoya (Japan), UNLV, New Mexico, Oklahoma State, Pacific, San Diego State, San Jose State, SMU, Stanford, UTEP, Utah and Wyoming. This event is hosted by the University of Hawaii. A 7:30 a.m. shotgun start will be used each day.

    The Probable Lineup:

    Golfer Yr. Avg. Top 10/20 Low Rd. Events

    Cody Beyer Jr. 73.00 1/0 65 6

    Reid Hatley So. 72.65 3/0 68 7

    Ricky Barnes So. 71.88 2/0 63 7

    Chris Nallen Fr. 73.07 0/1 70 6

    Andy Connell Fr. 76.00 1/0 68 4

    Head Coach Rick LaRose . . . is in his 23rd season at the helm of the Arizona golf program, coach Rick LaRose has established the Wildcats as one of the finest in the nation. The only college coach to win both a men’s (1992) and women’s (1996) NCAA Championship, LaRose’s teams have won seven NCAA Regionals, five Pac-10 crowns and three Rolex Match Play titles. In NCAA Championship competition, he also has four third-place finishes, a fifth-place and two sixth-place efforts to his credit. Since 1978, his men’s teams have won 43 tournaments and produced 55 All-Americans. He is assisted by John Knauer.

    Last Time Out: No. 16 Southern California continued its domination of the PING-Arizona Intercollegiate by posting two more sub-par team rounds Jan. 30 to win the tournament by 22 strokes. The Trojans, the only school in the 20-team field to post three sub-par rounds, carded a team total of 833 (-19) to win the event by 22 strokes. USC was the only team in to finish under par. California finished as the runner-up at 855 (+3), seven strokes ahead of Arizona State and Ohio State, who tied for third at 862. South Carolina rounded out the top five at 863 (+11). USC’s Alex Kuyumjian captured individual medalist honors with a three-round total of 206 (-7). He posted rounds of 67 and 71 today to win the event by two strokes over South Carolina’s Kyle Thompson and Ohio State’s David Wagenseller. The Arizona varsity finished eighth in the field with a team total of 873. The Cats moved up two positions after Monday’s opening round. UA’s second round 286 was its best round of the tournament. The Arizona “B” team finished 11th in the event with an 880 total. Andy Connell, a freshman from Denver, Colo., was the bright spot for the Wildcat program, as he finished in a tie for fifth place with a three-round 210 (-3) total. It was a career-low tournament total for Connell. Only one other UA golfer, Brian Woolf, finished in the top 20. The two-day event was contested at The Raven at Sabino Springs, a par 71, 6,776-yard layout.

    Last Year’s John Burns Invitational: All five UA golfers finished under par for the tournament and helped the team to a runner-up finish at the 2000 John Burns Intercollegiate in Honolulu, Hawaii. Leading the way for Arizona was Derek Gillespie, who posted a seven-place finish with a seven-under-par total of 209. Teammates Brandon Smith (T13th/211) and Cody Beyer (T16th/212) also earned top-20 finishes. BYU won the team event, finishing nine strokes ahead of Arizona.

    Match Play National Champions: The University of Arizona's men's golf team defeated fifth-seeded Georgia Tech by a score of 3-2 on Sunday to claim the team title at the 2000 CGF National Intercollegiate Match Play Team Championships. The Wildcats, seeded No. 3 in the tournament, defeated UNLV, 4-1, in the semifinals Saturday and Northwestern, 3-2, in the first round to advance to Sunday's championship match. Sophomore Reid Hatley, junior Cody Beyer and freshman Chris Nallen all won their matches today against the Yellow Jackets. Hatley scored a 1-up victory over Wes Latimer. Beyer came away with a 2 and 1 win over Troy Matteson, while Nallen defeated Kris Mikkelson with a final of 3 and 1. Sophomore Ricky Barnes dropped a close match to Bryce Molder, losing 1-up. The tournament championship was Arizona's second CGF Match Play title. The Wildcats won the inaugural Match Play Championships in 1996.

    Sub 70: Freshman Andy Connell became the sixth UA golfer to post a round in the 60s, as he carded a second-round 68 at the PING-Arizona Intercollegiate. That 68 highlighted Connell’s best-ever finish, as he tied for fifth place with a three-round total of 210. All three of his rounds were at par or better in the tournament which enabled him to lower his stroke average by two strokes on the year to 76.00.

    Top 20: Joining Connell in the PING-Arizona Intercollegiate top 20 was teammate Brian Woolf. The junior collected his first top-20 finish of the year as he tied for 20th with a 215 (+2) tournament total. Included in the effort was Woolf’s low round of the year a second round score of 70.

    Low Total: Junior Ben Clark also registered his lowest tournament total of the year at the PING-Arizona Intercollegiate, totaling 225 (+12). Clark opened the 54-hole event with scores of 73-71 and stood tied for 22nd place after the first two rounds.

    Finding the Positives: While the Cats’ eighth-place finish in its own tournament may not have been what it was hoping for, the squad did manage to card a second-round team total of 286, its second-lowest score of the season. It was UA’s fifth team score of less than 290 in five scoring tournaments to date.

    Among the Leaders: Arizona’s eighth place finish last month was the team’s sixth top-10 finish for the year. Included in that string is the CGF Match Play Championship and two top-five efforts.

    Record-Setting Effort: Ricky Barnes, a sophomore from Stockton, Calif., earned his first tournament victory of the year at the Savane College All-America Golf Classic on No. 21 by posting a record-setting total of 196 (-17) to win the event by six strokes. He broke the previous tournament scoring record by five shots. Barnes carded three consecutive rounds in the 60s (63-67-66) to clinch his third career win. He joins a list of former Classic winners, including Jerry Pate (1974), Davis Love III (1984), Notah Begay (1994) and Tiger Woods (1995).

    Not a Bad Fall: The Wildcats finished the fall with a 290.27 stroke average and No. 10 national ranking. Leading the way was sophomore Ricky Barnes, who posted a 71.86 stroke average in five scoring events. All told, seven UA golfers have stroke averages of 74.00 or less.

    Fall’s Best Effort: The UA varsity posted its lowest tournament total (862) of the year at the Golf World/Palmetto Dunes Invitational. It was the first time in four events that the team had posted three sub-290 rounds in tournament play. It lowered the team’s stroke average to 290.27.

    Tough Schedule: While the Cats recent run of top-five finishes ended recently at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate, it’s certainly for a lack of effort. Arizona has faced some of the finest competition this year. Counting the CGF Match Play Championships field, UA has faced 50 ranked opponents in its last five events. Through it all, UA has retained its national ranking in each of the three major golf polls.

    1999-2000 In Review: From beginning the year not ranked in the preseason top-25 to finishing third and just two strokes behind the leaders at the NCAA Championship, the 1999-2000 Arizona men’s golf season was one that will go down as one of the most rewarding in the program’s history. Continuing to improve every step of the way with a top-five lineup that consisted of two seniors, a sophomore and two true freshmen, the Cats won two tournaments, including the NCAA West Regional, and placed second four times. After its unexpected third place showing at the NCAA Championships, Arizona ended the season ranked sixth in the country and was the highest ranked Pac-10 Conference team in the final poll.

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