The Field: According to the latest MasterCard Collegiate Golf Rankings, eleven of the nation's top-17 ranked teams will be in action this week at the U.S. Collegiate Golf Championships... In order, they are No. 1 Georgia Tech, No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Northwestern, No. 4 Georgia, No. 6 Arizona State, No. 7 Oklahoma State, No. 8 UNLV, No. 10 Houston, No. 11 Arizona, No. 16 Kent, No. 17 Florida and No. 38 Texas Christian.
Arizona's Lineup: The Wildcats will bring the following five golfers to the U.S. Collegiate Championships:
Yr. 99-00 Avg. Top-10/Top-20 Fin. (Tourn's) Ricky Barnes Fr. 71.70 3/2 (9) Derek Gillespie Sr. 72.15 4/2 (9) Cody Beyer So. 73.38 1/4 (8) Scott Moore Sr. 73.76 1/2(7) Reid Hatley Fr. 75.38 0/0 (7)The UA's Last Action: The Cats broke a string of three consecutive top-five finishes when they finished seventh at the Morris Williams Intercollegiate on March 21. The Wildcats finished with a 33-over-par 897, but had their best round of the tournament in the final day, finishing with a 288 to improve from tenth place. BYU edged UNLV in a one-hole playoff for the team title after both teams ended regulation at 881, which was five strokes better than third-place Fresno State at 886. Oklahoma State was fourth at 889, while Houston and New Mexico tied for fifth place at 891. New Mexico's Joel Hendry captured the individual title at 5-under-par 211, which was one stroke ahead of BYU's Andy Miller, who placed second. Arizona sophomore Cody Beyer posted his first top-10 finish of the season with a 4-over-par 220 (74-74-72) to tie for seventh place. Freshman Ricky Barnes entered the final day tied for 37th but shot a 68 in the third round to tie for 11th place at 5-over-par 221 (75-78-68). Senior Derek Gillespie tied for 18th at 8-over-par 224 (78-73-73) and freshman Reid Hatley shot an 18-over-par 234 and tied for 61st. Senior Scott Moore rounded out the Wildcat lineup with a score of 239 to tie for 74th place.
Wildcat Notes: Arizona will go into this week's U.S. Collegiate Championships with a string of six consecutive top-10 finishes... The Wildcats have placed in the top-10 in eight of their nine tournaments on the season... When Arizona won the Louisiana Classic back on March 9, it was the first tournament championship for the Wildcats since October of 1997... That season, current PGA golfer Rory Sabbatini led the UA to the title at the Taylor Made Red River Classic... Arizona has had a golfer place in the top-10 in each of the last five tournaments... In that string, freshman Ricky Barnes has won two tournaments -- the Louisiana Classic and the Ping/Arizona Intercollegiate... The other top-10 finishes were from Cody Beyer at the Morris Williams Intercollegiate (T7th) and Derek Gillespie at the John Burns Intercollegiate (T7th) and the Nelson Invitational (T4th)... Arizona has had a solid spring so far... In addition to the first place finish at the Louisiana Classic, the Wildcats were the runner-up at two of its four tournaments the Ping/Arizona Intercollegiate and the John Burns Intercollegiate... The UA placed eighth at last season's U.S. Collegiate Championships, which were at Lecanto, Fla... Derek Gillespie was the team's top finisher, tying for 18th with an even-par 216 (75-71-70)... Cody Beyer was the only other member of this year's lineup that played in the that tournament... He tied for 49th with a 9-over-par 225 (76-75-74).
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 is in his second year at the UA... LaRose has directed both the UA 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 41 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 1995-98.
Up Next: Arizona will head to Tempe, Ariz., on April 15-16, for the Thunderbird Invitational, which is hosted by Arizona State and played at the Karsten Golf Course.
A Look Back at the Fall: Arizona posted four top-10 finishes in five fall tournaments. The Cats placed second at their first tournament of the season, The Ridges Intercollegiate, behind the play of freshman Patrick Norris, who placed second individually at 3-under-par 213... Arizona followed that with an eighth-place finish at the W.H. Tucker Intercollegiate led by senior Derek Gillespie, who tied for fifth individually at 1-under-par 215... Gillespie also tied with freshman Ricky Barnes for the team's top score at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate. They tied for 18th at 2-over-par 215, while the team was 7th in the final standings... Gillespie's fourth-place outing at the Nelson Invitational guided the Cats to their sixth-place effort in that tournament... Gillespie also participated in the Savane College All-America Golf Classic in November. He fired a 67 in the final round to finish tied for fifth at 3-under-par 210 in a tournament that featured two dozen of the top collegiate men's golfers.
The Talented Mr. Gillespie: Senior Derek Gillespie was an All-America selection in 1999 after tying for sixth at the NCAA Championships... He shot a 6-over-par 294 (72-71-76-75) and was in second place after two rounds just two shots off the lead... He entered the NCAAs not ranked among the nation's top-100, but finished the season as the country's No. 45 golfer in the final MasterCard rankings... This season, he is the team's top ranked golfer at No. 28... He has four top-10 finishes and top-20 performances in his nine tournaments in 1999-2000... Included in the four top-finishes are a pair of top-five outings (tied for 4th at Nelson and tied for 5th at Savane)... He owns the team's second-lowest scoring average at 72.15 and has been Arizona's top finisher in four out of nine tournaments on the season... He tied for seventh at the John Burns Intercollegiate after firing his lowest round of the season (66) on the final day to jump from 31st place. He was named to the 1999 All-Pac-10 second team after he tied for 20th at the Pac-10 Championships with a 10-over-par 290 (76-73-67-74)... Gillespie played in 12 tournaments in 1998-99 and had five top-20 finishes and two top-10 outings.
Barnes the Noble: Ricky Barnes (Stockton, Calif.) is proving to be one of the top freshmen golfers in the country this season and he has a growing list of credentials to prove it... He has lived up to expectations, winning two tournaments and having three top-10 finishes and two top-20 outings in nine tournaments... Barnes, the brother of former UA golfer Andy Barnes, won the Ping/Arizona Intercollegiate in February with a 9-under-par 204 (65-68-71) and the Louisiana Classic on March 14 with a 3-under-par 213... He currently boasts the team's top average at 71.70... With his win at the Ping/Arizona Intercollegiate on Feb. 1, he became the first UA golfer to win a tournament since Rory Sabbatini won the 1997 Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate... Barnes was featured in Sports Illustrated's Golf Plus issue in the Faces in the Crowd section in February... He has been Arizona's top golfer in three tournaments this season, with his lowest finish coming at the Ridges Intercollegiate where he finished tied for 38th... He came to Arizona ranked 17th in the country for the class of 1999 and 42nd overall... He had four runner-up finishes in his AJGA career, including three in a row toward the end of 1999...
Fresh Faces: In addition to Barnes, UA director of golf Rick LaRose has gathered one of the best recruiting classes in the nation in Patrick Norris (Orlando, Fla.), and Reid Hatley (Spokane, Wash.)... The trio combined to record two top-10 finishes... Norris posted a second-place finish in his first collegiate competition at The Ridges Intercollegiate... Hatley tied for ninth at last week's Spalding/Anteater Invitational, when he played for the UA junior varsity team... He was ranked 10th among American Junior Golfers Association class of 1999 players at the end of the season and was the No. 18 player in the country overall. He won the 1999 AJGA Compaq Junior Championship at Trophy Lake and had five top-10 performances during his AJGA career. Hatley tied for 23rd at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate in the fall.
Congrats to Former Cats: Recent Arizona alum Rory Sabbatini earned a second-place finish at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic earlier this year... He narrowly missed picking up his first PGA Tour victory by finishing a stroke behind the champion, Jesper Parnevik... Arizona alum and current PGA golfer, Jim Furyk, captured his fifth career title with a victory at the Doral-Ryder Open... 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.
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 last 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.
National Rankings MasterCard Collegiate Rankings (3-29-00) Arizona - No. 11 Individual Rankings Derek Gillespie - No. 28 Ricky Barnes - No. 31 Patrick Norris - No. 96