Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Men's Golf Travels to Palo Alto, Calif., for U.S. Intercollegiates
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: April 18, 2001
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    On the Tee: The Arizona men’s golf team travels to Palo Alto, Calif., to take part in the U.S. Intercollegiate. It is the third of four tournaments scheduled in the month of April. The U.S. Intercollegiate is also the team’s final tune-up before the 2001 Pac-10 Championships, April 27-29, in Palo Alto.

    The Rankings: As has been the case all season, the Wildcats remain ranked in all three major college golf polls. The Cats are ranked No. 18 in the MasterCard/CGF poll, No. 12 in the Golf World poll and No. 15 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. Individually, three UA golfers are ranked nationally. Ricky Barnes, the 2000 National Freshman of the Year, is ranked 17th in the MasterCard/CGF poll and 57th in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. Joining Barnes in the national rankings is sophomore Reid Hatley, No. 39 in the MasterCard rankings and No. 105 in the Golfweek/Sagarin poll, while junior Cody Beyer is No. 56 in the MasterCard rankings and No. 78 in Golfweek/Sagarin rankings.

    U.S. Intercollegiate Facts: Stanford University plays host to the 2001 U.S. Intercollegiate, April 21-22. The event will be contested at the Stanford Golf Course, a par 71, 6,786-yard facility in Palo Alto, Calif. The 54-hole tournament features 36 holes on Saturday and 18 on Sunday. An 8 a.m. PDT shotgun start will be used both days. In addition to Arizona, the following teams are scheduled to compete: Arizona State, California, UC Irvine, Long Beach State, Oregon, Oregon State, Pacific, Portland, San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose State, Santa Clara, UCLA, USC, Washington, Washington State, and host Stanford.

    The Probable Arizona Lineup:
    Golfer Yr. Avg. Top 10/20 Low Rd. Events
    Ricky Barnes So. 71.35 4/1 63 10
    Cody Beyer Jr. 72.30 1/3 65 9
    Reid Hatley So. 72.54 3/0 68 10
    Chris Nallen Fr. 72.87 0/1 68 9
    Andy Connell Fr. 75.24 2/0 68 7

    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: The Arizona men’s golf team carded a six-under par total of 282 last Saturday to finish in sixth place at the ASU Thunderbird/Savane Invitational. It was the Wildcats’ fourth top-10 finish this spring. The Wildcats’ team total of 852 (-12) was squad’s second-best team score this season. UA’s third-round total of 282 was the third-lowest score of the day. Three of Arizona’s last five team rounds have been under par. Arizona State won the event with a score of 839 (-25), six strokes ahead of Texas. USC finished third with an 847 total. Individually, UA sophomore Ricky Barnes earned runner-up honors with a three-round total of 207 (-9). The Stockton, Calif., native fired a final-round 67, the lowest round of any player to finish in the top 10, to post his best tournament total since winning the Savane All-America Golf Classic on Nov. 21. Oklahoma State’s Anders Hultman won medalist honors by one stroke with a 206 (-10) total. Junior Cody Beyer posted a top-20 finish with a 212 (-4) total. Beyer shot a final-round 70 to finish tied for 18th place. It equaled his lowest total this spring. Other UA finishers included Reid Hatley, who finished tied for 54th place at 217 (+1), Chris Nallen, who finished tied for 60th place at 218 (+2), and Andy Connell, who finished tied for 76th place at 221 (+5).

    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 the title 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.

    A Share of the Lead: With a strong spring, Ricky Barnes is now tied for the team lead with 14 rounds at par or better this season. He shares that lead with fellow sophomore Reid Hatley. Barnes has been at par or better in nine of 12 rounds this spring, while Hatley registered nine of his 14 rounds in the fall.

    Tuning Up: Following Barnes’ lead, the Wildcats are steadily improving play with each tournament this spring. In four spring events, Barnes is averaging 70.75 strokes per round, 1.10 strokes lower than his average in the fall. As a whole, the team has also picked up play, lowering its scoring average (287.08) by 3.19 stokes in the spring. This spring, seven of UA’s 12 rounds have been below par.

    One More Barnes Note: Barnes posted his best finish of the spring last weekend with a runner-up finish at the ASU Thunderbird/Savane Invitational in Tempe, Ariz. The Stockton, Calif., native shot a 207 (-9) to post his best tournament total since winning the Savane College All-America Golf Classic in November. Incidentally, Barnes is the first UA player to win tournaments in consecutive seasons since Jason Gore in 1993 and 1994.

    Finding the Positives: After posting an eighth-place finish at its own PING-Arizona Intercollegiate, the team has done a good job this spring of posting solid finishes. The team has an average finish of fifth in three events in an average field of 18. The team’s stroke average pre round in those three events is 285.78.

    Among the Leaders: Arizona has eight top-10 finishes in nine team events this season. The Cats have posted top-10 efforts in all four spring tournaments to date.

    Making an Adjustment: Whatever is said in the clubhouse after the first 18 holes must work because the Wildcats’ stroke average in the second round of spring tournaments is five shots lower than its first round average. UA has opened four spring events with a stroke average of 290.0. That mark falls to 285.0 in the second round and rises slightly to 286.0 in the third round of play.

    One Cool Freshman: Chris Nallen has quietly become one of the top freshmen in the country. Nallen has played in the No. 4 position in all nine varsity events this season and ranks fourth on the squad with a 72.87 stroke average. He has one top-20 finish to his credit and his 12 rounds at par or better are tied for third on the squad. He was the only UA player at the CGF Match Play National Championships to win all three of his singles matches. He is ranked No. 121 nationally in the most recent Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index.

    Mr. Consistency: Arguably Arizona’s most consistent player all season, Cody Beyer has improved his play of late. Averaging 72.30 strokes per round (No. 2 on the team) this year, Beyer has lowered his stroke average in each of the last three events. In that span, the Tucson, Ariz., native is averaging 71.22 strokes per round. He has earned top-20 finishes in each of his last three starts. He is ranked No. 56 individually in the most recent CGF/MasterCard rankings.

    At the Top: Sophomore Reid Hatley remains one of the UA leaders in several statistical categories. Joining Barnes as the only player to see action in 10 events this year, Hatley ranks third in stroke average (72.54), second in top-10 finishes (3), and tied for first in rounds at par or better (14). He is ranked No. 39 individually in the most recent CGF/MasterCard rankings. In the last three events, Hatley’s 71.0 scoring average in the second round of tournaments is the lowest on the team.

    Looking for a Fifth: While the majority of the UA lineup has remained the same, the Cats are still looking for a reliable player to fill in at the No. 5 position. Since the fall, the Nos. 1-4 positions have been manned by Ricky Barnes, Cody Beyer, Reid Hatley and Chris Nallen. Each of those players have played solid golf, posting a cumulative 72.24 stroke average with eight top-10 finishes. Finding a consistent No. 5 has been the key to success this season, as Brandon Smith, Ben Clark, Andy Connell and Tim Weiss have each attempted to occupy the role. That quartet has a cumulative 75.14 stroke average.

    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). The 196 total was also a UA low score for a tournament winner.

    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 had stroke averages of 74.00 or less.

    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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