Sept. 12, 2002
On the Tee: Arizona opens the 2002-03 season at a familiar location in Albuquerque, N.M., at the 48th annual William H. Tucker Intercollegiate ... It will be the Wildcats' 24th appearance in the event in the last 25 years (1998) ... UA has won the event three times (1987, '90, '91) and finished in the top three seven times since 1978 ... Arizona closed the 2001-02 campaign with its 16th consecutive appearance at the NCAA Men's Golf Championships and finished in a tie for ninth place ... It was UA's third straight top-10 NCAA finish.
The Rankings: The Wildcats open the 2002-03 campaign ranked fourth nationally by GolfWorld magazine. The publication also ranked senior Ricky Barnes, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion, as the nation's fourth-ranked collegiate player and included junior Chris Nallen in its "50 College Players to Watch" list.
A Look at the William H. Tucker Intercollegiate: The 48th annual William H. Tucker Intercollegiate will be held Sept. 13-14 at the University of New Mexico's Championship Course, a par 72, 7,248-yard layout. It is the nation's second-oldest college golf tournament. Thirty-six holes with be played Friday and 18 Saturday with a 7:30 a.m. MDT shotgun start each day. Eighteen teams are scheduled to compete: Air Force, Arizona, BYU, Colorado, Colorado State, host New Mexico, New Mexico junior varsity, New Mexico State, Oklahoma, Oregon State, Pepperdine, San Diego State, Texas A&M, Texas-El Paso, Texas Tech, UNLV, Utah and Wyoming
The Probable Arizona Lineup( 2001-02 stats):
Golfer Yr. Avg. Top 10/20 Low Rd. Events Ricky Barnes Sr. 72.13 4/4 67 14 Chris Nallen Jr. 71.47 5/6 65 14 Reid Hatley Sr. 73.21 2/3 67 13 Kipp Riehle So. 74.48 1/1 68 13 Andy Connell Jr. 75.29 0/0 69 9 Nathan Lashley So. 75.94 0/0 60 11 Blaine Peffley Fr. making collegiate debut
Head Coach Rick LaRose . . . begins 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: Arizona closed action at the 2002 NCAA Men's Golf Championships tied for ninth place with a tournament total of 14-over-par 1150. The Wildcats posted a final-round 290 to move up two spots in the final standings. Ricky Barnes was Arizona's top finisher for the third consecutive year as he tied for 17th place with a 72-hole score of 283 (-1). Minnesota won the national title after shooting the second-best team round of the tournament in the final round, a 6-under-par 278, to complete the event at 1134 (-2). The Golden Gophers surpassed third-round leader Georgia Tech, who finished in second place at 1138 (+2). Despite his team's stumble to second place, Georgia Tech's Troy Matteson captured individual medalist honors, finishing with a four-round 276 (-8). Arizona tied with Tulsa for ninth, 16 strokes behind Minnesota. After taking eighth place in 2001 and third place in 2000, Barnes continued his streak of top-20 finishes at the NCAA Championships as he shared 17th place with five other golfers. The 6-foot-1 native of Stockton, Calif., shot his third round of the tournament at even par to finish the four-day tournament at 1-under-par 283. Also finishing in the top 25 for the Wildcats was Chris Nallen, who tied for 23rd place as he carded a final-round 72. The sophomore from Blairstown, N.J., completed the national championship tournament at even par. His performance this week lowered his season scoring average to 71.47, which ranks as the sixth-best mark in UA history. Reid Hatley closed his third season as a Wildcat with a 51st place finish at the NCAA Championships. Hatley shot 2-over-par 73 Saturday to bring his four-round total to 5-over-par 289. Andy Connell finished play at 12-over-par 296 to tie for 102nd place, an improvement of seven strokes in relation to par and his 19-over-par showing at the 2001 NCAA Championships. Kipp Riehle completed his first campaign with the Wildcats by tying for 124th as he shot 15-over-par 299 this week.
2002 U.S. Amateur Champion: UA senior Ricky Barnes heads into the Tucker with added pressure of being the current U.S. Amateur champion. Barnes, who tallied a 72.13 stroke average last season, defeated Oklahoma State's Hunter Mahan, 2 and 1, to win amateur golf's most prestigious even at Oakland Hills Country Club on Aug. 25.
Familiar Surroundings: UNM's Championship Course could almost double as a second home for the Wildcats, as the squad makes its third appearance on the course in less than a calendar year. Arizona's top three players seem to enjoy the surroundings, as each has fared well here. Barnes posted a tie for 10th place at last year's Tucker (217/+1), while he shared individual medalist honors at the NCAA West Regional (210/-6). Chris Nallen managed a 218 (+2) and two top -20 finishes in two prior Tucker appearances, while Reid Hatley finished tied for third at the 2000 Tucker with a 212 (-4) total. UA also captured the 1992 national championship at the facility.
One-Two Punch: Ricky Barnes and Chris Nallen shape up as one of the best one-two combinations in all of college golf. The duo has six career wins between them and hold the top two spots on Arizona's career stroke average list. Barnes enters 2002-03 as the No. 4-ranked collegiate player by GolfWorld magazine and No. 5 by GolfWeek. Nallen is listed among GolfWorld's "Top 50 Players to Watch" list for the second consecutive season.
2002 Postseason Accolades: Nallen and Barnes were each named honorable mention All-America by the Golf Coaches Association of America. It marked the 11th consecutive season in which Arizona has had at least one All-America, and the fourth time in the last five years that the Cats have had multiple selections. It was the third time Barnes has received All-America distinctions and the second for Nallen. The pair also earned spots on the GCAA's all-Pacific Region squad.