Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Men's Golf Opens Spring Season at the PING-Arizona Intercollegiate
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: January 26, 2001
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    On the Tee: The Arizona men's golf team opens the spring campaign by hosting the PING-Arizona Intercollegiate, Monday-Tuesday, Jan. 29-30, at The Raven at Sabino Springs. It is the first of five spring events prior to the Pac-10 Championships.

    The Rankings: The UA closed the fall season 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. 16 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. Individually, one Wildcat golfer is ranked nationally. Ricky Barnes, the 2000 National Freshman of the Year, is ranked 2oth in the MasterCard/CGF poll.

    PING-Arizona Intercollegiate Facts: One of the finest men's college golf tournaments in the nation, the 2001 PING-Arizona Intercollegiate features four teams ranked in the top 25 in the most recent MasterCard/CGF college golf rankings, including three teams in the top 10. In addition to tournament-host Arizona, currently ranked No. 10 nationally, the following teams are scheduled to compete: Arizona B, Arizona State B, Arkansas, BYU (No. 8), California, California-Irvine, Long Beach State, Mississippi, New Mexico State, Ohio State, Oregon, Oregon State, Pepperdine, South Carolina (No. 4), Southern California (No. 16), Stanford, Texas-El Paso, UCLA, and Washington.The two-day event begins Monday, Jan. 29, and will be contested at The Raven at Sabino Springs, a par 71, 6,900-yard layout. An 8 a.m. MST shotgun start will be used each day with 36 holes scheduled for Monday and 18 on Tuesday.

    The Probable Lineup:

    Golfer		Yr.	Avg.	Top 10/20	Low Rd.	Events
    Cody Beyer	Jr.	74.13	0/0		71	3
    Reid Hatley	So.	73.13	2/0		69	3
    Ricky Barnes	So.	73.13	1/0		72	3
    Chris Nallen	Fr.	73.00	0/1		71	3
    Ben Clark	Jr.	74.00	0/1		70	2

    Head Coach Rick 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: Ricky Barnes shot a final-round 66 to win the Savane College All-America Golf Classic by six strokes. His three-round total of 196(- 17) broke the tournament scoring record by five strokes. Barnes, a sophomore from Stockton, Calif, earned his first tournament victory of the year by posting a five-under-par 66, the lowest round of the day. It was his third consecutive round in the 60s and clinched the win by six strokes. For Barnes, the 2000 National Freshman of the Year, it was his third career tournament win. Also competing for the Wildcats was sophomore Reid Hatley, who tied for seventh place with a three-round total of 211. Hatley's second-round 68 was his lowest round of the season. Barnes' 196 broke the previous record set by Jay Don Blake (Utah State, 1980) and Jeremy Anderson (UNLV, 1998). He joins a list of past Savane All-America Golf Classic winners that include Jerry Pate (1974), Davis Love III (1984), David Duval (1991), Notah Begay (1994) and Tiger Woods (1995). The Savane College All-America Golf Classic is an invitational tournament featuring 17 of the nation's top collegiate golfers. The event was contested at the El Paso Country Club, a par 71, 6,781-yard layout.

    Last Year's PING-Arizona Intercollegiate: After entering the final round in second place, the USC Trojans fired a 1-over-par 285 in the final round to win the PING/Arizona Intercollegiate at the Raven Golf Course at Sabino Springs (Par-71, 6,797 yards). The Trojans, who had two golfers place among the top-five, finished with a 54-hole total of 4-under-par 848 to win the title by seven shots over the host school, Arizona. The Wildcats entered the final round with a one shot lead over the Trojans, but after carding a 9-over-par 293, they finished in second place with a 3-over-par 852 total.

    Match Play 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.

    In the 60s: Ricky Barnes picked a nice time to get his game in order. Barnes dominated the field at the Savane All-America Golf Classic in the last fall event with a record-breaking 196 (-17). He posted three consecutive rounds in the 60s, including a career-best 63 in the opening round. Teammate Reid Hatley also competed in the invitation-only event and finished tied for seventh. He fired a season-low 68 in teh second round of the event.

    Nallen Steps Up: In winning the CGF National Intercollegiate, freshman Chris Nallen was the only UA player to post wins in all three rounds. The Blairstown, N.Y. native earned a 1-up, 4&2, and 3&1 wins, respectively, in the three rounds. In stroke play, Nallen posted a 73.18 streoke average in the fall, which ranks fourth on the squad.

    Low Total: UA 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.

    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. All told, seven UA golfers have stroke averages of 74.00 or less.

    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.

    Quite an Effort: Junior Cody Beyer put forth quite an effort at the Golf World/Palmetto Dunes Invitational. Beyer shot a career-low 204 (also a UA team low this season) and finished in sixth place. It was his first career top-10 finish and the team's fifth this season. Included in the effort was an opening-round 65, which was also his career low. The performance lowered his stroke average nearly two strokes to a team-leading 72.45.

    Sub 60s: Cody Beyer's opening-round 65 was one of four rounds in the 60s posted by Arizona in its last full team competition in the fall. Beyer also shot a final-round 69. Sophomore Reid Hatley fired a 69 at the Golf World/Palmetto Dunes Invitational, which was his second 69 of the year and one stroke off his career low. Junior Brandon Smith shot a 68 at the 49er Collegiate Classic, his collegiate career low. Combined with Barnes' and Hatley's efforts at the Savane, that marks the 11th time this season that a UA golfer has carded a round in the 60s.

    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 47 ranked opponents in its last four events. Through it all, UA has retained its national ranking in each of the three major golf polls. Three more ranked opponents are scheduled to compete at the PING-Arizona Intercollegiate.

    Chip Ins: Junior Ben Clark made his varsity debut at the CGF/Match Play Championships ... Of the UA's 36 rounds at par or better this season, 24 have been recorded by five golfers (Hatley 9, Barnes, Beyer, Nallen, Smith 5 each) ... The CGF/Match Play Championships Invitational was the fourth consecutive fall event to be played in the South. Interestingly, the Cats have just one scheduled trip east of Tucson in the spring the NCAA Championships in Durham, N.C.

    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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