On the Tee: It's a busy week for the Wildcat men's golf program as both the varsity and junior varsity will be competing simultaneously. The third-ranked UA varsity competes at the Rolex/Golf World/Palmetto Dunes Collegiate Invitational in Hilton Head, S.C., Nov. 3-5, while the JV tees it up at the 49er Collegiate Classic in Long Beach, Calif., Nov. 2-3.
The Rankings: The UA remains ranked in all three major college golf polls. The Cats are tied for No. 3 in the MasterCard/CGF poll, No. 7 in the Golf World poll and No. 16 in the Golfweek/Sagarin rankings. All told, the Wildcats moved up three slots in the most recent MasterCard rankings. Individually, one Wildcat golfer is ranked nationally. Ricky Barnes, the 2000 National Freshman of the Year, is ranked fourth in the MasterCard/CGF poll and seventh in the Golf World poll.
Palmetto Dunes Collegiate Invitational Facts: Celebrating its 15th year, the Rolex/Golf World/Palmetto Dunes Collegiate Invitational, presented by Cleveland Golf, hosts some of the finest college golf talent in the country. Sixteen of the 18 teams in the field are ranked nationally. The lineup includes Arizona, Arizona State, Clemson, East Tennessee State, Florida, Florida Southern, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Houston, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma State, South Carolina, Texas, TCU, UNLV, and Wake Forest. The three-day, 54-hole event takes place at the Arthur Hills Course at Palmetto Dunes, a par 72, 6,651-yard layout. Eighteen holes will be played each day.
The Probable Lineup:
Golfer Yr. Avg. Top 10/20 Low Rd. Events
Ricky Barnes So. 73.13 1/0 72 3
Reid Hatley So. 73.13 2/0 69 3
Cody Beyer Jr. 74.13 0/0 71 3
Chris Nallen Fr. 73.00 0/1 71 3
Andy Connell Fr. 75.33 0/0 69 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: Freshman Chris Nallen posted the lowest total of his collegiate career to help the Arizona men's golf team to a ninth-place finish at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate. Nallen, who was the Wildcats' top individual, fired a final-round 71 to finish with a 54-hole total of 216 (+3) to tie for 24th place. Playing in his third collegiate event, the Blairstown, N.Y. native improved his career tournament low by two strokes, topping his three-round 218 at the William H. Tucker Intercollegiate on Sept. 15-16. He was the only UA golfer to post a score at par for the tournament. Nallen's effort helped the Cats move up two spots in the 12-team event. Arizona carded a three-round total of 876 (+24) to finish in a tie for ninth place with tournament-host Alabama. Clemson topped the field by two strokes with an 825 total (-27). Georgia (827), Georgia Tech (835), Oklahoma State (852) and UAB (855) rounded out the top five. Georgia Tech's Bryce Molder captured individual medalist honors with a 17-under-par total of 196. Other Arizona performers included Cody Beyer, who finished tied for 29th at 218 (+5), Ricky Barnes, who finished tied for 38th at 221 (+8), Brandon Smith, who finished tied for 49th at 227(+14) and Reid Hatley, who finished in 55th place at 229 (+16).
49er Collegiate Classic Facts: Fifteen teams are scheduled to compete at the 49er Collegiate Classic, including Air Force, Arizona (JV), Cal Poly, Cal State Northridge, host Long Beach State, Nevada, New Mexico State, Pacific, Portland, San Diego, San Jose State, UTEP, UC Irvine, UC Santa Barbara, and Washington State. The two-day event takes place at the Virginia Country Club, a par 71 layout. Thirty-six holes will be played on Thurs., Nov. 2, and 18 on Friday, Nov. 3.
The Probable Lineup:
Golfer Yr. Avg. Top 10/20 Low Rd. Events
Brandon Smith Jr. 73.78 0/1 70 3
Tim Weiss Jr. 76.20 0/0 71 2
Brian Woolf Jr. 75.67 0/0 74 1
Rob Anderson Sr. 73.33 0/0 68 1
Ben Clark Jr. 72.00 0/1 70 1
JV Action: Bolstered by two individual top-10 finishes, the University of Arizona men's golf junior varsity finished fifth at the NMSU/Herb Wimberly Invitational last weekend. The Wildcats shot a final-round 283 (-5) and finished in fifth place with a three-round total of 872 (+8). Wyoming captured the team title with a total of 862 (-2). The Wildcat JV finished ahead of 10 varsity and two other junior varsity squads in the 17-team field. Junior Ben Clark led Arizona individually, finishing in a tie for 12th place. Clark was two under par over the final 36 holes and tallied a 216 total (E) for the three-round event. He was one of two Wildcats to finish in the top 20, as Brandon Smith finished tied for 17th place. Smith carded a two-over-par total of 218 to post the second top-20 finish of his career. Other Arizona performers included senior Rob Anderson, who tied for 28th at 220 (+4), freshman Andy Connell, who tied for 35th at 222 (+6) and juniors Tim Weiss, who finished 42nd at 224 (+8), and Brian Woolf, who finished tied for 52nd at 227 (+11). Weiss competed in the tournament as an individual.
Two of Three: For the Wildcat JV, the 49er Collegiate Classic is the second of three scheduled events this season. The remaining junior varsity event is the Anteater Invitational, March 26-27, 2001, in Irvine, Calif.
At Par: The Arizona golfers struggled at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate, posting just two individual rounds at par for the entire event. Only freshman Chris Nallen, who carded scores of 71 in the first and third rounds, was able to keep it at even par.
Marked Improvement: By posting two rounds at par the last time out, Chris Nallen recorded his career tournament low of 216. The effort lowered his season stroke average to 73.00, a figure that ranks second on the squad.
Putting It To The Test: Junior Ben Clark puts his team-leading 72.00 stroke average on the line at the 49er Collegiate Classic. The Austin, Texas, native has competed in one JV event this season, the NMSU/Herb Wimberly Invitational, where he led the Cats with a 216 (E) total. He finished in a tie for 12th place.
Mr. Consistency: Sophomore Ricky Barnes has been nothing if not consistent this season. Last season's National Freshman of the Year ranks tied for third on the squad with a 73.13 stroke average. Interestingly, though, Barnes has yet to shoot a round under par this season. Through three events (eight rounds), he's posted just two rounds at par. What's so consistent is the fact that five of the remaining six rounds have been no more than two strokes above par.
Chip Ins: Arizona's ninth-place finish at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate ended the Cats' string of sixth straight top-five finishes dating back to last season ... Three of the ten players scheduled to compete this week have registered a round in the 60s (Rob Anderson-68/Reid Hatley-69/Andy Connell-69) and four more have at least one sub-par round ... The Rolex/Golf World/Palmetto Dunes Collegiate Invitational is the third of four consecutive fall events to be played in the South. Arizona has remaining team events scheduled for Hilton Head, S.C., and Estero, Fla. 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.