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Men's Golf Release
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 10/29/2002
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Oct. 29, 2002

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On the Tee: It will be a Halloween extravaganza as the Arizona junior varsity makes its first appearance of the 2002-03 season at the 49er Collegiate Classic Oct. 31-Nov. 1 in Calimesa Calif. ... It is the first of two JV-only events on the schedule ... This week's event is also the first action of the season for four of the five players in the UA lineup ... The Wildcat varsity will next be in action on Nov. 8-10 at the Hooters Collegiate Match Play Championship in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The Rankings: The Wildcats remain ranked in all three major college golf polls. Arizona is ranked eighth in the Precept/CGAA Coaches Poll, 12th in the Golfworld Coaches Poll and 14th in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index. Individually, three UA golfers are ranked in the top 100 of the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index: Ricky Barnes (23rd), Chris Nallen (27th) and Reid Hatley (98th). That publication also ranked Barnes, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion, as the nation's fourth-ranked collegiate player and included junior Nallen in its "50 College Players to Watch" list.

A Look at the 49er Collegiate Classic: Long Beach State will host the seventh annual 49er Collegiate Classic, Oct. 31-Nov. 1, at The Champions Course at the PGASC Golf Club in Calimesa, Calif., , a par 72, 7,097-yard layout. Thirty-six holes with be played Thursday and 18 Friday with start times to be announced. Eleven teams are scheduled to compete: Arizona JV, Cal Poly, Cal State Northridge, Idaho, New Mexico State, North Texas, Pacific, San Diego, San Jose State, UC-Santa Barbara and host Long Beach State.

The Probable Arizona Lineup:

Golfer   	 Yr.	Avg.	Top 10/20	Low Rd.	Events
Andy Connell	 Jr.	74.63	   0/1  	  70	  3
Nathan Lashley	 So.	74.80	   0/0  	  71	  2
Brian Woolf *	 Sr.	76.60	   0/2  	  68	  9
Nick Juszczak *	 Jr.	74.50	   1/0  	  69	  6
Kipp Riehle	 So.	77.50	   0/0  	  72	  2
*  indicates 2001-02 statistics

Head Coach Rick LaRose . . . is in his 25th season at the helm of the Arizona golf program, and in that span has established the Wildcats as one of the nation's elite programs. 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 play, he also has five third-place finishes, a fifth-place and two sixth-place efforts to his credit. Since 1978, his men's teams have won 47 tournaments and produced 39 All-Americans. He is assisted by John Knauer.

Last Time Out: Heavy rains canceled the final round of the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate Oct. 15 and Arizona junior Chris Nallen claimed individual medalist honors with a seven-under-par 135 total to win the event by one stroke. Nallen, a native of Blairstown, N.J., carded an opening-round 69 (-2) and followed with a 66 (-5) in the day's second 18 holes to forge a one-stroke lead at 135 (-7) over a pair of players at 136. The sub-70 rounds were the 19th and 20th of his career, and his second-round 66 was one stroke shy of his career low. The win was the second of Nallen's career. He also won the U.S. Intercollegiate, April 21-22, 2001, in Palo Alto, Calif. Nallen's stellar play came on the heels of the worst tournament finish of his career. At last week's Ping/Golfweek NCAA Preview, he shot a three-round 232 (+16) and finished tied for 49th place. His efforts placed the Wildcats in a tie for sixth place at 565 (-3). That total is the team's best 36-hole total of the season by 10 strokes. Clemson won the 12-team event with a 556 (-12) total. Joining Nallen in the top-10 places was UA senior Reid Hatley. The Spokane, Wash., product equaled a career-low with a 67 (-4) in the opening round and finished tied for ninth place at 139 (-3). Freshman Blaine Peffley also placed in the top 30, as his two-round total of 145 (+3) tied him for 27th. Also competing for Arizona was junior Andy Connell, who tied for 35th place at 146 (+4) and sophomore Nathan Lashley, who tied for 46th place at 149 (+7). Arizona was without the services of senior Ricky Barnes, the reigning U.S. Amateur Champion, who is preparing to compete for the United States in the World Amateur Championship in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Last Year at the 49er Collegiate Classic: Arizona's men's junior varsity golf team took ninth place at the 49er Collegiate Classic after closing the three-round tournament with a final round of 305 to finish action at 51-over-par as a team. Junior Brian Woolf was the Wildcats' top finisher, tying for 12th place. Texas Christian took first place in the 54-hole tournament after a final-round 285. Individually, Alan Murray of Toledo won medalist honors, posting rounds of 64-70-74=208 (-5). Woolf, a junior from Mission Hills, Calif., shot rounds of 73, 77 and 72 to finish the tournament at 9-over-par 222. The 12th place finish is the highest in Woolf's UA career. Senior Ben Clark finished in 21st place after a final round of 77. Nathan Lashley posted his best round of the tournament Friday by carding a 4-over-par 75. Lashley closed the tournament tied for 66th place. Also scoring for Arizona were senior Brandon Smith and freshman Steven Eshbach. Smith tied for 36th, while Eshbach tied for 54th.

World Champion: University of Arizona men's golfer Ricky Barnes shot a two-over-par 74 Sunday in the final round of the World Amateur Golf Championship to help the United States erase a third round deficit and win the event by three strokes. Barnes' final-round 74 combined with D.J. Trahan's 66 (-6) gave Team USA a total of 140 (-4) for the day and a four-round tally of 568 (-8). The United States trailed France by three strokes heading into Sunday's final round, but France carded a two-over 146 and finished second in the 63-team field by three strokes with a 571 (-5) total. Australia and the Philippines tied for third place at 574, while Austria and New Zealand tied for fifth at 575. No team in the top-20 scored better than the U.S.'s four-under final round tally. A senior from Stockton Calif., Barnes tallied 11 pars and two birdies on the Saujana Golf & Country Club's Palm Course en route to his 74 to finish in a tie for 16th place individually with a 72-hole total of 293 (+5). Australia's Marcus Fraser carded a 281 (-7) total to win the event by one stroke. Trahan's final-round 66 moved him into a tie for 10th place at 291 (+3), while fellow U.S. teammate Hunter Mahan finished sixth at 288 (E). The United States successfully defended its championship and captured the Eisenhower Trophy for the 12th time.

A Look Back: In five stroke play events last season, the UA junior varsity earned three top-10 finishes, including a season-best fifth at the NMSU Herb Wimberly Invitational. In those five events, the Cats averaged 298.8 strokes per round and had a countable stroke average of 74.62. Incidentally, the JV's low round of the 2001-02 campaign came in the second round of the 49er Collegiate Classic.

Experience Counts: It isn't the normal "junior varsity" squad that will tee it up this week in Long Beach, as the UA lineup has quite a bit of varsity experience under its collective belts. Three of the five players in the lineup (Andy Connell, Nathan Lashley, Kipp Riehle) have played a combined 19 rounds with the varsity this season and have a collective 75.58 stroke average with one top-20 finish. The quintet has 219 career rounds played heading into the 49er Collegiate Classic.

Leading the Way: The statistics show that Denver, Colo., native Andy Connell has played relatively well in three events this season. The junior has a 74.63 stroke average through eight rounds, including a tie for 14th place (218/+2) bat the season-opening William H. Tucker Intercollegiate. His stroke average drops to 72.80 if you exclude a three-round 233 (+17) at the rain-soaked Carpet Capital Collegiate, a tournament in which Connell competed with an injured back.

A Good Finish: It will be the third career appearance for senior Brian Woolf at the 49er Collegiate Classic. As a sophomore in the fall of 2000, Woolf carded a 223 (+10) to finish in a tie for 21st place. Last season, the Granada Hills, Calif., product was Arizona's top finisher at the event, a tie for 12th place at 222 (+9). The 12th-place finish last year was a career best for Woolf.

Two Times: Junior Chris Nallen picked up the second win of his career with a 69-66=135 (-7) at the rain-shortened Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate. It lowered his stroke average to 72.36 on the season and moved him into 27th place nationally in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index. An Arizona golfer has won at least one individual event in each of the last four seasons.

As a Whole: Despite the fact the Arizona was without the services of reigning U.S. Amateur champion Ricky Barnes, the squad managed to post its two lowest rounds of the season at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate. Bolstered by the play of Chris Nallen and Reid Hatley, who were a combined 10-under par, Arizona carded a season-low 282 (-2) in the first round and a 283 (-1) in the second. The effort lowered UA's countable stroke average to 73.02 this season.

Freshman Sensation: Since setting foot on the Tucson campus, freshman Blaine Peffley has been a fixture in the UA lineup. One of only three players to see action in all four varsity events, Peffley ranks fifth on the team with a 74.64 stroke average. His effort at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate was a season low, as he tallied a 72-73=145 (+3) to tie for 27th place.

Up Next: The Arizona varsity returns to action Nov. 8-10 at the Hooters Collegiate Match Play Championship in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The Wildcats will be seeded No. 5 in the competition and will face 12th-seeded Pepperdine in the first round. Arizona won this event in 1996 and 2000.

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