Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Men's Golf Travels to New Mexico
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: September 28, 1999
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Cats Go to New Mexico: The Arizona men's golf team will play in its second tournament of the fall season, traveling to Albuquerque, N.M. on Oct. 1-2, for the 45th annual W.H. Tucker Intercollegiate. The second oldest collegiate tournament in the country, this is a 54-hole event, with 36 holes being played on Friday and 18 on Saturday. First round action beings on Friday with an 8 a.m. (MDT) shotgun start and the second rounds begin right after the first is completed. Saturday's final round will begin at 8 a.m. MDT. The Tucker will be held at the Championship Golf Course at the University of New Mexico. The course is a Par-72 7,248 layout and it's the course where Arizona won the 1992 NCAA national championship.

The Field: There will be 20 teams competing this weekend, five of which are ranked in the MasterCard Collegiate Men's top-25 rankings... The field includes Air Force, Arizona, BYU (11th), Colorado, Colorado State, Hawaii, UNLV (2nd), New Mexico (17th), New Mexico JV, New Mexico State, Oklahoma, Oregon State, San Diego State, San Francisco, SMU, the Swedish National Team, Texas (12th), TCU (24th), USC and UTEP.

Arizona's Lineup: The Wildcats' lineup for the tournament includes the following golfers:

                        Yr.       99-00 Avg.   Top-10/Top-25 Finishes in 1999
Derek Gillespie         Sr.             74.33           0/0
Cody Beyer              So.             73.66           0/1     
Patrick Norris          Fr.             71.00           1/0
Reid Hatley             Fr.             74.66           0/0
Ricky Barnes            Fr.             75.00           0/0

The UA's Last Action: The University of Arizona men's golf team opened the 1999-2000 season by placing second at the Bank of Tennessee/The Ridges Intercollegiate tournament, at The Ridges Golf Course (par-72, 7,055 yards) on Sept. 11-12. The UA, which fielded a team comprised of three freshmen, one sophomore and a senior, carded a 54-hole total of 11-over-par and finished five shots behind first place Oklahoma. The Sooners won the tournament with a 6-over-par 860 total. Virginia was third at 879, South Carolina finished fourth with a 885 and North Carolina rounded out the top-five at 888. Individually, North Carolina's Max Harris won medalist honors after shooting a 5-under-par 211 (71-69-71). The big story for Arizona was the performance of freshman Patrick Norris (Orlando, Fla), who was the runner-up in his first collegiate tournament after carding a 3-under-par 213 (71-69-73) to finish three shots off the lead. Wildcat sophomore Cody Beyer (Tucson, Ariz.) tied for 16th with a 5-over-par 221 (70-77-74) and senior Derek Gillespie (Oshawa, Ontario) was the next Wildcat on the leaderboard, tying for 25th at 7-over-par 223. Arizona's other two freshmen rounded out the lineup. Reid Hatley (Spokane, Wash.) tied for 31st at 8-over-par 224 (75-75-74) and Ricky Barnes (Stockton, Calif.) tied for 38th with a 9-over-par 225 (74-74-77).

Arizona's Coaching Staff: Arizona's head men's golf coach, Rick LaRose, is in his 22nd season at the helm of the program and is assisted by John Knauer, who begins his second year at the UA... LaRose has directed both the Wildcat men's and women's golf programs to an NCAA title (men-1992; women-1996) .. He is the only coach in NCAA golf history to achieve such a feat... He has also guided both programs to six NCAA Regional championships and five Pac-10 titles, while winning 40 men's tourneys and 17 women's tournament titles... He has been the head coach of the UA men's golf program since 1979 and was the women's head coach from the latter portion of the 1995 season to 1998.

Congrats to a Former Cat: Arizona alum and current PGA golfer, Jim Furyk, was a member of the United States Ryder Cup team and was instrumental in the historic comeback on the final day of play. Furyk, who golfed at the UA from 1988-92 and was a part of the Cats' 1992 NCAA title team, beat Spain's Sergio Garcia 4&3 on the final day in the singles matches, helping the U.S. record a come-from-behind win and record a 14 -to-13 victory.

Up Next: Arizona returns to action on Oct. 11-12, when it travels to the Red River Classic in Dallas, Texas.

A Look Back at Last Season: The U of A men's golf team highlighted its 1998-99 campaign by making their 13th consecutive appearance at the NCAA Championships, a streak that is the fifth-longest in the country. The team received the invite to the NCAAs as a result of placing ninth at the NCAA West Regional, which the UA hosted at Tucson National Golf Resort. At the NCAAs, the team failed to make the cut into the third and fourth rounds and tied for 20th after the first two days. However, Arizona senior Derek Gillespie had a very impressive showing at the NCAAs by tying for sixth place. After not being ranked in the top-100 going into the tournament, he found himself in second place after the second round and just two shots off the lead. He would fall to sixth after the third round and stay their for the final results. Another UA golfer, junior Scott Moore, also qualified for the NCAA Championship third and fourth rounds as an individual, and tied for 51st after the 72-hole event.

Did You Know: A lot has been made over the years about the success of the Arizona basketball program and its 15 straight appearances in the NCAA Basketball Tournament... Well, the Arizona men's golf team is on Lute Olson's hoopsters heels with 13 consecutive NCAA showings... Also, with the UA men's golf team advancing to the NCAA Championships last year, 17 of the 19 sports at the University of Arizona qualified for NCAA postseason play in 1998-99... In addition, Arizona was the only school in the country that has/had a team playing in this year's NCAA softball world series, NCAA baseball tournament, NCAA women's golf championships and NCAA men's golf championships... Arizona is one of seven schools have made at least 10 consecutive trips to the NCAA Championships... The schools and the consecutive years they have contended are: Oklahoma State (53), Clemson (18), Florida (17), Arizona State (16), Arizona (13), UNLV (11) and North Carolina (11).

Arizona Golf History: In five of the past 10 seasons, Arizona has produced a first team All-America golfer... There have been two National Players of the Year from the UA -- Eric Meeks (1989) and Robert Gamez (1990)... Those two were also the National Amateur of the Year (Meeks in 1988; Gamez in 1989)... The Wildcats won the 1992 NCAA national championship... UA has also won two Pac-10 titles and has been the league runner-up on six occasions... In six of the past 11 years, Arizona has spent time ranked as the nation's No. 1 team, including the 1997-98 team, which spent most as the 1997-98 season in the top spot... Arizona alums on the PGA Tour include such names as Jim Furyk, Robert Gamez, Don Pooley, Rory Sabbatini, Mike Springer, Larry Silveira, Ted Purdy and Dan Pohl... There have been four Arizona golfers named (five overall selections) to the United States Walker Cup team Berganio was a two time performer... Since Rick LaRose took over as head coach in 1979, there have been 32 All-America first team, second team, third team or honorable mention golfers from the UA.

1999 NCAA Championship Review: As mentioned above, Derek Gillespie turned in a tremendous performance at the NCAAs by tying for sixth. He finished with a 6-over-par 294 and was 10 shots behind the winner, Luke Donald of Northwestern. Gillespie opened with rounds of 72 and 71 at the Hazeltine National Golf Club and was just two shots off the lead after the first 36 holes. He would card a 4-over-par 76 in the third round to fall to a tie for sixth and the final round saw him shoot a 75 to remain in the sixth place tie with North Carolina's Max Harris. The tie for sixth was the best showing at the NCAAs since Rory Sabbatini was the runner-up to Tiger Woods in 1996. The Cats had two individuals qualify for one of the nine individuals spots, as Scott Moore would tie for 51st at 17-over-par 305 (75-75-77-78). He needed to go into a playoff after the second round to battle it out for one of the advancing spots for individuals after tying for 29th following the first 36 holes. As a team, the UA failed to make the cut, as the field was paired down to the top-15 teams after the first two rounds. The Cats' total of 39-over-par 615 (303-312) tied them for 20th with South Carolina and they were seven shots off the cutline. In addition to Gillespie and Moore, the rest of the Wildcats lineup included Andy Barnes (T111/158) and Cody Beyer and Tim Weiss, who both tied for 149th with 165s. The tournament was won by Georgia, who finished at 1180. The Bulldogs won the tournament by three shots over Oklahoma State.

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