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Men's Golf Makes 16th Consecutive Appearance at NCAA Championships
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 05/21/2002
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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May 21, 2002

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On the Tee: Arizona makes its 16th consecutive appearance at the NCAA Championships, May 29-June 1, Columbus, Ohio. Arizona will seek the program's second national championship after finishing in third place the previous two years. Junior Ricky Barnes looks to put himself in contention for the individual crown for the third straight year as he has two top-10 NCAA Championships finishes in his career.

A Look at the 2002 NCAA Championships: This year's tournament takes place at the Ohio State University Scarlet Course, a par 71, 7,222 yard layout... Arizona enters the tournament as the sixth-seed from the West Regional... The 72-hole tournament will consist of four rounds of 18 holes each day... The Wildcats claimed the NCAA Championship in 1992 and has seven top-ten finishes in its current streak of 16 consecutive NCAA appearances.

Tournament Schedule: First round play begins Wednesday, May 29, with Arizona teeing off at 7:00-7:36 a.m. on the first tee. The Wildcats' second round tee-times run from 12:00 p.m. to 12:36 p.m. Arizona will play with Toledo and Georgia Southern in the first two rounds. Teams will be repaired according to team standing after 36 holes. Practice rounds are Monday and Tuesday.

The Scarlet Course: A par 71, 7,222 yard layout, the Scarlet Course served as the site of the The Preview by PING & Golfweek in September. Established in 1938, the Scarlet Course has been host to nine NCAA Championships. The competitive course record stands at 66.

The Probable Arizona Lineup:


Golfer	Yr.	Avg.	Top 10/20	Low Rd.	Events
Ricky Barnes	Jr.	72.27	4/3	67	13
Chris Nallen	So.	71.52	5/6	65	13
Reid Hatley	Jr.	73.32	2/3	67	12
Andy Connell	So.	75.52	0/0	69	8
Kipp Riehle	Fr.	74.45	1/1	68	12

Head Coach Rick LaRose . . . is in his 24th season at the helm of the Arizona golf program, and in that span has established the Wildcats as one of the finest programs 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 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 44 tournaments and produced 57 All-Americans. He is assisted by John Knauer.

The Rankings: After opening the season as the nation's second-ranked team, Arizona currently holds down a No. 20 ranking by Golf World, 21st in the Precept/GCAA Coaches Poll and No. 24 in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index. Golf World also selected UA junior Ricky Barnes as the nation's Preseason Player of the Year and included sophomore Chris Nallen in its "50 College Players to Watch" list. Individually, two UA players are ranked in the top 80 nationally in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index.

Tournament Field: Ten teams and two individuals from each of three regions make up the field for the 2002 NCAA Championships. Sixteen of the top 20 teams in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin ratings will compete. Participants: Georgia Tech, Oklahoma State, New Mexico, Clemson, Purdue, Washington, North Carolina, Tulsa, UNLV, Augusta State, Illinois, Minnesota, Virginia Commonwealth, North Carolina State, Pepperdine, Georgia Southern, Toledo, Arizona, Auburn, Baylor, Pacific, Georgia, Texas Christian, Texas, Florida, Virginia Tech, Fresno State, Alabama-Birmingham, Colorado, Texas Tech, Brandt Snedeker of Vanderbilt, Eric Jorgensen of Michigan State, Franklin Hatchett of Southern Methodist, Tom Johnson of Northwestern, John Merrick of UCLA, Mark Warman of San Diego State.

Last Time Out: Ricky Barnes won medalist honors as he led Arizona in qualifying for its 16th straight trip to the NCAA Men's Golf Championships. The Wildcats finished tied for sixth place with Pacific and Texas at 14-over-par 878 at the NCAA West Regional at the University of New Mexico's Championship Course. Barnes became the fourth golfer in Arizona history to win medalist honors at the NCAA Regional as he tied for first place with Justin Smith of Minnesota at 6-under-par for the tournament. Barnes, a junior from Stockton, Calif., drained three birdies on the back nine to card a final-round of 1-over-par 73. Sophomore Chris Nallen was Arizona's second-best finisher as he tied for 51st place at 7-over-par 223. Freshman Kipp Riehle posted his best round since April 13 as he shot 1-over 73 to complete the tournament at 223 (+7). Andy Connell tied for 68th place with a 54-hole total of 225 (+9). Reid Hatley completed the Arizona lineup and claimed a tie for 82nd place.

Last Year at the NCAA Championships: The test of playing 27 holes in one day for the national championship proved to be too much for the University of Arizona men's golf team, as it posted its worst round of the tournament in the final round to finish third at the 2001 NCAA Men's Golf Championships. The Wildcats, who held a six-stroke lead midway through the third round when play was suspended for bad weather, could not keep up with the hard-charging University of Florida and ended up with a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships for the second year in a row. Florida finished the event 24-strokes under par over the last two rounds and won the tournament with a 1,126 (-26) total. Arizona, which entered the final round tied for the lead with Florida at 851 (-13), carded a final-round 294 (+6) and fell to third place, one stroke behind runner-up Clemson. Only one UA player posted a sub-par final round. Sophomore Ricky Barnes, who entered the final round tied for the overall lead with eventual winner Nick Gilliam of Florida, shot a 79 (+7) to finish in a tie for eighth place at 284 (-4). Teammate Chris Nallen, who carded a third-round 66 to get back into contention for the lead, shot a closing 77 (+5) to finish in a tie for 13th place at 286 (-2). Junior Cody Beyer was the only UA player to come in under par in the final round, as he tallied a final-round 70 (-1) to finish tied for 16th place at 287 (-1). Sophomore Reid Hatley followed his third-round 71 (-1) with a 73 (+1) in the final round to finish in a tie for 39th place at 294 (+6). Freshman Andy Connell closed with his two best rounds at the championships to finish in 79th place at 307 (+19). The 2001 NCAA Men's Golf Championships were contested at the Duke University Golf Course, a par 72, 7,045-yard facility in Durham, N.C.


		Arizona Individuals		Team Finish
	T8.	Ricky Barnes	68-65-72-79--284 (-4)	1.	Florida	1126
	T13.	Chris Nallen	66-77-66-77--286 (-2)	2.	Clemson	1144
	T16.	Cody Beyer	71-72-74-70--287 (-1)	3.	ARIZONA	1145
	T39.	Reid Hatley	75-75-71-73--294 (+6)	4.	Georgia Tech	1148
	79.	Andy Connell	81-79-73-74--307 (+19)	5.	Georgia	1152
Last Time at The Scarlet Course: Arizona shot a final-round 300 to finish in 13th place at The Preview by Ping & Golfweek at the OSU Scarlet Course in September. The Wildcats' 16-over-par 300 in the final round gave the squad an 893 total (+41) to finish 13th in the field of 15. Clemson won the tournament by one stroke with a three-round total of 862 (+10). Wake Forest (863), Texas (864), Ohio State (867) and Virginia Tech (871) rounded out the top five places. Sophomore Chris Nallen was the only Wildcat golfer to finish in the top 20, as the Blairstwon, N.J., native posted a three-round total of 219 (+6) to finish in a tie for 19th place. His two-over-par 73 on Sunday clinched his second top-20 finish of the season. Junior Ricky Barnes also carded a final-round 73 , his low round of the tournament, to finish tied for 29th place at 221 (+8). Other UA finishers included Reid Hatley, tied for 52nd place at 226 (+13); Kipp Riehle, tied for 55th place at 227 (+14) and Nathan Lashley, tied for 70th place at 232 (+19).

All-Conference: Junior Ricky Barnes and sophomore Chris Nallen were each named all-Pacific-10 Conference in voting done by the league's head coaches. Nallen earned first team honors, while Barnes was included on the second team. It was the third career all-conference accolade for Barnes and the second for Nallen.

Hogan Award: Sophomore Chris Nallen was named one of 20 semifinalists for the Ben Hogan Award, which honors the nation's outstanding male college golfer. The award, given by the Friends of Golf, Colonial Country Club and the Golf Coaches Association of America, is based on play from May 1, 2001-May 1, 2002.

Best in the West: No team west of the Central Time Zone has finished ahead of the UA in the NCAA Championships the last two years. In 2001 and 2000, only Florida, Clemson, Oklahoma State and Georgia Tech have finished better than Arizona

Consistent Finisher: Even though he failed to break par at the NCAA West Regional, Chris Nallen has remained one of the UA's most consistent performers. The sophomore has finished in the top 20 in 11 of 13 events this season, including five in the top 10. He leads the team with a 71.52 stroke average and has been the Cats' top finisher in six events.

Coming on Strong: Ricky Barnes has turned up his game as the season winds down and the postseason heats up. Over his last three events, the junior is a combined 14 strokes under par. He has been the UA's top finisher in those three events, taking 11th, sixth and first places. In those 10 rounds, Barnes' stroke average sits at 70.60. Playing his best golf in the postseason is nothing new for Barnes, he owns a career postseason scoring average of 72.75 and has six top-five finishes in eight postseaon tournaments.

Rock Solid: Reid Hatley may be one of the least-heralded golfers in the lineup, but his contributions from the No. 3 spot are paramount success. Remarkably consistent, Hatley has picked it up lately by posting a 72.87 stroke average over the last 10 events (31 rounds). Included in that span are 13 rounds at par or better, which have helped him to two top-10 and three top-20 finishes.

Stepping Up: Andy Connell's efforts in the spring might be as important as any in helping the team qualify for its 16th consecutive NCAA Championship appearance. The Denver, Colo., native averaged 73.50 strokes in helping UA earn top-five finishes at the PING-U.S. Collegiate Championships and the ASU Thunderbird/Savane Invitational. Good things happen for the Cats if Connell is playing well out of his spot in the lineup. All four of his rounds counted at the Pac-10 Championships. Since April, he has collected his best placement (T34), low tournament total, set a season-low round (69), and collected all four of his sub-par rounds this season.

In the 60s: Arizona golfers have carded 23 rounds in the 60s during the 2001-02 campaign. Individually, Nallen leads the way with eight, Barnes has five and freshman Kipp Riehle has three.

Preseason Player of the Year: Junior Ricky Barnes was tabbed by Golf World magazine as the No. 1 men's college golfer in the nation. The Stockton, Calif., native has 13 top-10 finishes in his two-year career, including four victories. His 71.05 career stroke average is the lowest in school history. Sophomore Chris Nallen was named to the publication's "50 College Golfers to Watch" list.

Early Signees: University of Arizona men's golf coach Rick LaRose signed three student-athletes to National Letters-of-Intent during the November signing period. Zack Amole (Devner, Pa./Cocalico H.S.), Brett Carter (Phoenix, Ariz./Mountain Pointe H.S.) and Blaine Peffley (Lebanon, Pa./Cedar Crest H.S.) will join the program in Fall 2002.

A Quick Look Back at the Fall Schedule: Arizona collected two top-five finishes in four fall team events, including a fourth-place effort at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate in October. Playing with a lineup that featured two freshmen and no seniors for the majority of the fall, the Wildcats improved its scoring average with each passing tournament and finished the fall with a 291.00 stroke average. Sophomore Chris Nallen collected two top-10 and three top-20 finishes in five individual events and finished with a team-leading 71.53 stroke average.

2000-01 In Review: Arizona closed another highly-successful season with its 15th consecutive berth in the NCAA Championships. The Cats finished third for the second straight season. No team west of the Central Time Zone has finished ahead of UA at the NCAA Championships in the last two years. Arizona earned two team championships in 2000-01, including the CGF Match Play National Championship in November, and three individual wins. Ricky Barnes and Chris Nallen were named to the 2000-01 GCAA NCAA Division I Ping All-America team on June 3.

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