Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Men's Golf Ranked No. 4 Nationally by GolfWorld Magazine
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: September 06, 2002
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Sept. 6, 2002

TUCSON, Ariz. - The University of Arizona men's golf team will open the 2002-03 season with a top-five national ranking, as GolfWorld magazine has ranked the team fourth in its annual preseason rankings. The publication also selected Ricky Barnes and Chris Nallen as two of its "50 Players to Watch."

The Wildcats received 322 points, including one first place vote, to tie for fourth place with Georgia Tech in the preseason poll behind Clemson (389), Minnesota (334) and Florida (327). It marks the 15th time in the last 17 years that Wildcat golf has achieved a top-five ranking at some point of the season. Last season, Arizona opened the year ranked No. 2 before finishing tied for ninth at the 2002 NCAA Championships.

Leading the way for the Wildcats in 2002-03 will be senior Ricky Barnes and Chris Nallen, who were both picked as two of the nation's top 50 collegiate players.

Barnes, a senior from Stockton, Calif., enters the season as the reigning U.S. Amateur champion and is ranked No. 4 individually in the GolfWorld rankings. In 14 events last season, Barnes averaged 72.13 strokes per round and posted four top-10 finishes. Included in the effort was a tie for first place at the NCAA West Regional with a six-under 210 total. It was his fifth career victory. His 71.43 career stroke average is the lowest in school history and he has claimed All-America accolades in each of his first three seasons. Barnes was GolfWorld's preseason Player of the Year last season.

Nallen, a junior from Blairstown, N.J., posted a team-leading 71.47 stroke average and five top-10 finishes last season. Twenty-three of his 44 rounds in 2001-02 were at par or better and included 10 rounds in the 60s. An All-America as both a freshman and sophomore, Nallen's 71.63 career stroke average trails only Barnes in UA annals. He was also included in GolfWorld's top 50 players last season.

The Wildcats open the 2002-03 campaign Sept. 13-14 at the William H. Tucker Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M.

GolfWorld Magazine
2002-03 Preseason Top 25 Men's Coaches Poll

Rnk     School (1st place votes) Points
1.	Clemson (9)     	389
2.	Minnesota (3)   	334
3.	Florida (2)     	327
4.	ARIZONA (1)     	322
	Georgia Tech    	322
6.	Wake Forest (1) 	296
	Texas           	296
8.	Oklahoma State   	294
9.	Washington      	250
10.	North Carolina State	223
11.	North Carolina   	197
12.	USC             	185
13.	Auburn          	158
14.	Tennessee        	148
15.	Georgia         	147
16.	UNLV            	143
17.	Fresno State      	117
18.	Illinois        	110
19.	Virginia Tech    	109
20.	TCU             	108
21.	Oklahoma        	102
22.	Tulsa            	 94
23.	UCLA             	 65
24.	Toledo           	 64
25.	Pepperdine         	 58
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