Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Men's Golf Kicks Off Season
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: September 09, 1999
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Cats Open Season: The Arizona men's golf team will kick off the fall portion of its 1999-2000 season by playing at the second annual Bank of Tennessee/The Ridges Intercollegiate Tournament in Johnson City, Tenn., Sept. 11-12. The 54-hole tournament be played on The Ridges Golf Course (Par 72, 7,038 yards) and will consist of 36 holes the first day and 18 the second. The Wildcats will field an extremely young lineup for this tournament, sending three freshman to the event to go along with senior Derek Gillespie and sophomore Cody Beyer. Gillespie returns as one of the top golfers in the country after tying for sixth at last year's NCAA Championships.

The Field: There will be 15 teams competing this weekend, six of which are ranked in the MasterCard Collegiate Men's top-25 rankings... Defending tournament champion Clemson leads the way, as it is the nation's No. 2 ranked team... In addition to Arizona, the rest of the field includes: University of Alabama-Birmingham, Auburn (No. 22), East Tennessee State (No. 18), Louisiana State, North Carolina, North Carolina State (No. 20), Oklahoma, Purdue, South Carolina (No. 10), Tennessee, Texas Christian (No. 24), Virginia and Wake Forest. Arizona is not ranked.

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

                        Yr.        98-99 Avg.     NCAAs/West Reg./Pac-10 Finishes
Derek Gillespie         Sr.             73.23      T6/T48/T20
Cody Beyer              So.             74.66      T149/T54/T33
Ricky Barnes            Fr.                                   
Reid Hatley             Fr.                                   
Patrick Norris          Fr.                                        

A Look Back at 1998-99: 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.

Arizona's Coaching Staff: Rick LaRose, Arizona's head men's golf coach, 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) and in doing so, 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 championships, while winning 40 men's tourney's 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.

Pac-10 Conference Honors: Wildcat senior Derek Gillespie was named to the All-Pac-10 first team after tying for 20th at the Pac-10 Championships in Seattle... Senior Andy Barnes was an honorable mention team selection... Junior David Bates was a named to the Pac-10's All-Academic honorable mention team.

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.

NCAA West Regional Recap: Arizona State led wire-to-wire and won the 1999 NCAA Men's West Regional at the Omni Tucson National Resort (Par-72, 7,087 yards). ASU, which had three golfers place among the top-eight, posted a 54-hole total of 10-under-par 854 and won the event by eight shots over defending national champion UNLV (862). The top-nine finishing teams from this regional qualified for the NCAA Championships, of which Arizona was one. Jeff Quinney of Arizona State claimed medalist honors with a 7-under-par 209 total. Arizona was led by Andy Barnes and Tim Weiss, who both tied for 29th with 6-over-par 222s. Derek Gillespie tie for 48th at 225, Cody Beyer tied for 54th at 226 and Scott Moore rounded out the UA lineup, tying for 73rd with a 230.

Pac-10 Championship Review: The Arizona men's golf team finished in eighth place at the 1999 Pac-10 Men's Golf Championships, which were held at the Broadmoor Golf Club in Seattle. The Wildcats shot a final round of 16-over-par 366 and wound up with a 72-hole total of 63-over-par 1463. Arizona State won the team title, finishing at 3-over-par 1403, a total that was 21 strokes better than second place UCLA. The Bruins finished with a 24-over-par 1424, while Oregon was third at 27-over-par 1427. Washington placed fourth at 1440 and California rounded out the top-five with a 1441 total. Individually, Arizona State's Paul Casey took home medalist honors after blistering the course in the final round with a 10-under-par 60. He entered the day eight shots behind the leader, but used that outing to win the championship. Joel Kribel of Stanford began the day with the lead, but shot an even-par 70 and fell to second. The top Arizona golfer among the 60-player field was Scott Moore, who placed 15th. Derek Gillespie finished in a tie for 20th at 10-over 290. Next in line for Wildcats was Cody Beyer, who tied for 33rd, followed by Tim Weiss, who tied for 42nd; Andy Barnes, who tied 49th; and Brandon Smith (T49th/302).

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).

Up Next: Arizona returns to action on Oct. 1-2, when it travels to the W.H. Tucker Intercollegiate in Albuquerque, N.M.

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.

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