On the Tee: The Wildcat varsity golf team is back in action for the second consecutive week competing Nov. 10-13 at the College Golf Foundation's National Intercollegiate Match Play Championships, presented by Rolex. The event features eight of the top men's teams in the country. Arizona has won this event twice in its history.
The Rankings: The UA remains ranked in all three major college golf polls. The Cats are ranked No. 6 in the MasterCard/CGF poll, No. 7 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 23rd in the MasterCard/CGF poll.
CGF Match Play Championships Facts: This innovative event on the collegiate level features seven of the nation's top-10-ranked teams in a match play tournament bracket. The eight teams were seeded based on recent MasterCard/CGF Collegiate Golf rankings. The seeds are as follows: No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Arizona, No. 4 Texas, No. 5 Georgia Tech, No. 6 Northwestern, No. 7 UNLV, and No. 8 Houston.
First-round match-ups are as follows:
No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 8 Houston
No. 4 Texas vs. No. 5 Georgia Tech
No. 3 Arizona vs. No. 6 Northwestern
No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 7 UNLV
The format for the three-day event has the five members of each team playing singles matches against their opponents to determine the winning team. Winners advance, while losing teams fall into a consolation. Each team will play three matches. The Championships take place at The West Bay Club in Estero, Fla.
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 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 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.
Last Time Out: The University of Arizona's men's golf team shot a final round of 287 to finish in 12th place at the Golf World Invitational last Sunday in Hilton Head Island, S.C. UA's three-day total of two-under-par 862 is its lowest three-round team score of the season. Junior Cody Beyer claimed sixth place with his 12-under-par performance. He carded a final round of 69 to close the tournament at 204. Beyer's sixth-place finish was his highest of the year. Sophomore Reid Hatley fired a final round of even-par 72 to wrap up action tied for 24th place with a three-day total of 212. Freshman Chris Nallen completed action at five-over par with a final round of 72. Sophomore Ricky Barnes shot a third round of 74 to close out the tournament in 75th place with a total score 225. Freshman Andy Connell rounded out the Wildcat lineup in 86th place with a three-round total of 250. Georgia took the tournament championship by shooting a 42-under-par 822 as a team. Anders Hultman of Oklahoma State won individual medalist honors.
JV Action: Arizona's JV men's golf team posted a third-round score of 303 to finish at 883 and in sixth place at the 49er Collegiate Classic in Long Beach on Friday. The University of San Diego shot a final round of 294 to capture the tournament title. Individually, the Wildcats were led by junior Brandon Smith who carded a final-round 71 to close the tournament at 217 (+4). Senior Rob Anderson shot a nine-over-par 80 to complete the tournament in 21st place at 223. Juniors Brian Woolf also tied for 21st after shooting a final round of 76. Tim Weiss and Ben Clark tied for 34th and 43rd place, respectively.
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.
In the 60s: Beyer's opening-round 65 was one of four rounds in the 60s posted by Arizona last weekend. 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. That marks the seventh time this season that a UA golfer has carded a round in the 60s.
Cause and Effect: It doesn't take a genius to figure out that a sub-70 round is a good start to a good tournament. That's one of the reasons why Reid Hatley (212) and Brandon Smith (217) each equaled season tournament lows.
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.
Chip Ins: Junior Ben Clark makes his varsity debut this weekend at the CGF/Match Play Championships ... Of the UA's 31 rounds at par or better this season, 22 have been recorded by four golfers (Hatley 7, Beyer, Nallen, Smith 5 each) ... The CGF/Match Play Championships Invitational is the fourth of four consecutive fall events 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.