Oct. 2, 2001
On the Tee: Arizona opens one of the busiest weeks of the season, as both the varsity and junior varsity are in action ... All 11 players currently on the roster will be in action this weekend ... The JV opens the week at the 2001 Fresno Lexus Classic, Oct. 5-6, while the varsity returns to action at the Taylor Made Red River Classic, Oct. 8-9, in Dallas ... It is the third consecutive week that the UA golf program is in action.
The Rankings: The Wildcats opened the year as the nation's second-ranked team, according to Golf World magazine's College Coaches' Poll and the Golf Coaches Association of America Coaches Poll. 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. It marks the 15th time in the last 16 seasons that UA has received a top-10 national ranking, including nine times at No. 2 or better.
A Look at the Fresno Lexus Classic: Fresno State University hosts the 39th annual Fresno Lexus Classic, Oct. 5-6. Six players from 16 schools will be divided into four-man teams in this unique event. An 8 a.m. PDT shotgun start is scheduled for both days. The tournament will be held at Sunnyside Country Club, a par 72, 6,083-yard facility in Fresno, Calif. In addition to the Arizona JV, the following teams are scheduled to compete: UC-Santa Barbara, Colorado State, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, UNC-Greensboro, North Texas, Pacific, San Diego State, San Francisco, San Jose State, Stanford, UTEP, Utah, and host Fresno State.
The Arizona JV Lineup:
Golfer Yr. Avg. Top 10/20 Low Rd. Events
Brian Woolf Jr. 75.67 0/0 74 1
Brandon Smith Sr. 76.63 0/0 75 1
Tim Weiss * Sr. 76.53 0/0 71 6
Ben Clark * Sr. 74.24 1/1 69 9
Andy Connell * So. 74.80 3/0 67 11
Steven Eshbach Fr. First collegiate competition
* 2000-01 Statistics
A Look at the Red River Classic: The University of Texas hosts the 14th annual Taylor Made Red River Classic, Oct. 8-9, In Dallas. Nine nationally-ranked teams are included in the field of 15. Thirty-six holes are scheduled for Monday with an 8:15 a.m. CDT shotgun start and 18 on Tuesday with an 8 a.m. start from hole No. 1 and 10. The tournament will be held at the Dallas Athletic Club, a par 72, 6,766-yard facility. In addition to Arizona, the following teams are scheduled to compete: BYU, Duke, Houston, Kent State, Northwestern, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, USC, SMU, Texas A&M, TCU, Washington, and host Texas.
The Arizona Lineup:
Golfer Yr. Avg. Top 10/20 Low Rd. Events
Chris Nallen So. 72.67 0/1 70 1
Ricky Barnes Jr. 72.33 1/0 69 1
Kipp Riehle Fr. 71.33 1/0 69 1
Reid Hatley Jr. 76.00 0/0 75 1
Nathan Lashley Fr. 74.33 0/0 71 1
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.
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 publications "50 College Golfers to Watch" list.
Last Time Out ... The Preview by Ping & Golfweek: Arizona shot a final-round 300 to finish in 13th place at The Preview by Ping & Golfweek. The Wildcats' 16-over-par 300 in Sunday's 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 73 on Sunday, 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).
Last Appearance at the Red River Classic: The Wildcats last appeared in Taylor Made Red River Classic two years ago and placed 15th. The team posted a four-under par total of 860 over the 54 holes. Junior Ricky Barnes was the only current team member to play the Dallas Athletic Club layout, and he finished tied for 18th place with a 215 (+2) total.
Streak Comes to a Halt: With a 13th-place finish at The Preview, Arizona's streak of five consecutive top-five finishes came to an abrupt halt. The streak dated back to April 22, 2001, when the Cats won the U.S. Intercollegiate in Palo, Alto , Calif. Incidentally, UA has 10 top-five finishes since the start of the 2000-01 season.
Debut Weekend: Four Wildcat golfers will make their 2001-02 debut this weekend, as seniors Tim Weiss and Ben Clark, sophomore Andy Connell and freshman Steven Eshbach. For Eshbach, a native of Bonita, Calf., it will also be his collegiate debut.
Unfriendly Surroundings: Maybe it was the brisk fall weather or the trip across two time zones, but whatever the reason it made for un ugly weekend in Columbus. No UA golfer carded a round at par or better at last week's NCAA Preview and the team's final-round 300 was its worst competitive round since June 3, 1999, in the second round of the NCAA Championships, a span of 81 competitive rounds.
Finding a Positive: While not his best effort, Chris Nallen did manage to register a top-20 finish at The Preview last week. The sophomore shot a six-over-par 219 to finish in a tie for 19th place and earn his second top-20 placing of the year. In 15 career starts, Nallen has seven top-20 efforts, including a win and two top-five finishes.
In the 60s: Two Wildcat golfers managed to post a score in the 60s in the season's first two competitions. Freshman Kipp Riehle was the first to break 70, as he carded a second-round 69 at the William H. Tucker Intercollegiate. Junior Ricky Barnes followed up with a final round 69 in the season-opening event.
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.