On the Tee: The sixth-ranked University of Arizona men's golf team opens the 2000-01 campaign this weekend at the 46th annual William H. Tucker Intercollegiate in Albuquerque, N.M. ... The Wildcats return three of its top five golfers from last season's squad, which finished third at the NCAA Championships ... UA opens the year ranked in the top 10 in all three major college golf polls. The team carries a No. 6 ranking in the MasterCard/CGF poll.
Tourney Facts: The Cats take part in what is the nation's second-oldest collegiate tournament, the William H. Tucker Intercollegiate. The 54-hole event will be played at the Championship Course, a par 72, 7,223-yard layout in Albuquerque, N.M. The 23-team field features five squads ranked in the preseason MasterCard Collegiate Golf poll: Arizona (No. 6), UNLV (No. 7), , host New Mexico (No. 12), BYU (No. 19), USC (No. 22). Also competing are Air Force, Colorado, Colorado State, Denver, Furman, Hawaii, New Mexico junior varsity, New Mexico State, Oregon State, Pepperdine, San Diego State, San Francisco, Southeastern Louisiana, Texas-El Paso, Texas Tech, Utah, Weber State and Wyoming.
99-00 99-00 Golfer Yr. Avg. Top 10/20 Low Rd. Events
Ricky Barnes So. 71.04 6/3 65 14
Cody Beyer Jr. 72.90 2/4 65 13
Reid Hatley So. 73.89 1/2 68 12
Chris Nallen Fr. -- -- -- --
Andy Connell Fr. -- -- -- --
Brandon Smith (Ind.) Jr. 74.94 0/1 66 6
Last Year at The Tucker: The UA golf team finished eighth in this event with a three-round total of 885. BYU captured team honors with a team total of 856. Former UA All-American Derek Gillespie was the Cats top individual, finishing in a tie for fifth at 215 (-1). Ricky Barnes (T26th/221), Cody Beyer (T58th/227) and Reid Hatley (T74th/230) each saw action in the 1999 event.
Head Coach Rick LaRose: Entering 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 two 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 42 tournaments and produced 55 All-Americans. He is assisted by John Knauer.
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.
A Look Back at the NCAAs: Sparked by finishing the final two rounds with a 33-under-par total, Arizona placed third at the 2000 NCAA Golf Championships, marking the program's best finish at the NCAAs since winning it all in 1992. After completing the first two rounds in eighth place, the Wildcats then began to play out of their minds. Round three saw Arizona tie an NCAA Tournament record and set a school record by shooting a 19-under 269.
Each of the team's five golfers shot 68 or better, led by Scott Moore's career-best 66. That moved the UA up to fourth. The final round saw the Cats play well again, as they carded a 14-under 274.
That would give Arizona a 72-hole total of 34-under 1118 in its 15th consecutive NCAA appearance, which was just two strokes behind Georgia Tech and Oklahoma State, two teams that had to go into a one-hole playoff the determine the team champion. Oklahoma State won the team title in the playoff after it and Georgia Tech were tied with an NCAA Championships record 36-under 1116 following 72 holes of regulation play. In fact, Arizona's 34-under total tied the previous NCAA record total, which was set by UNLV in 1998.
Arizona's top individual was Ricky Barnes, who tied for third and recorded the best score in school history at the NCAA Championship with a 13-under-par 275. His third place performance was the best for a Wildcat at the NCAAs since Rory Sabbatini finished second to Tiger Woods in 1996 and Barnes also becomes the second UA golfer to place third at the NCAA Championships, joining Manny Zerman, who did it in both 1992 and 1990. Barnes shot a 69 in the final round to give him rounds of 70-68-68-69 at his first NCAA Championship. Next in line for the Wildcats was Derek Gillespie, who finished 12th with at 8-under-par 280. That total was the third best in school history at the NCAA Championships. Highlighted by a hole-in-one in the final day on the 208-yard par-3 eighth hole, using a thee-iron, Gillespie shot his second consecutive 67 and moved him up from the tie for 24th that he started the day. Reid Hatley was Arizona's third golfer to place among the top-15, finishing in a tie for 15th at 6-under 282 (70-74-68-70). Scott Moore closed out his Arizona career in style by turning in his top performance at the NCAAs, tying for 24th at 4-under 284. The final member of the third place Arizona lineup was Cody Beyer, who tied for 50th at 2-over 290.
The NCAA individual title was captured by Oklahoma State's Charles Howell, who had a NCAA record 23-under-par 265 total. He won by eight strokes over Houston's Chris Morris, who had a 15-under 273.
Returning All-American: Sophomore Ricky Barnes, the 2000 Pac-10 and National Freshman of the Year, was a second team All-America selection after posting a team-best 71.04 stroke average. He finished tied for third at both the NCAA Championships and Pac-10 Championships and had an average finish of 6.8 in the final four outings of the season.