June 11, 2001
TUCSON, Ariz. - Two University of Arizona golfers were named to the United States team that will compete in the USA-Japan Collegiate Golf Championship, it was announced by the Golf Coaches Association of America. Ricky Barnes and Natalie Gulbis will represent the U.S. in the international competition that begins July 3.
Barnes, a sophomore from Stockton, Calif., earned a spot on the team after a 2000-01 season that saw him earn second team All-America honors from the GCAA. He led the Wildcats with a 71.05 stroke average and posted seven top-10 finishes in 13 stroke play events this season, including a tie for eighth place at the 2001 NCAA Men's Golf Championships. Barnes won two tournaments in 2000-01, the Savane College All-America Golf Classic in November and the 2001 Pacific-10 Conference Championship in April. The Pac-10 Co-Player of the Year posted a team-leading 24 rounds at par or better this season, including 13 rounds in the 60s.
Gulbis, a freshman from Sacramento, Calif., was a first-team All-America pick in 2001 after posting three wins and six top-10 finishes in 10 events in her debut campaign, including individual medalist honors at the NCAA West Regional. She finished the season with a 72.50 stroke average and tallied 15 rounds at par or better. In seven spring tournaments, Gulbis earned five top-five finishes. She also finished in a tie for 34th place at the U.S. Women's Open and her score of 292 (+12) was the second-best total by an amateur.
2001 marks the 25th edition of the international event, which is scheduled for July 3-5 at Verde Sano Country Club in Sano shi, Tochigi-ken, Japan. The U.S. team is made up of eight men and four women who will compete against their Japanese counterparts in a three-day match play format.
In addition to Barnes and Gulbis, the 2001 U.S. team includes Anthony Arvidson (Oregon State), Hunter Mahan (USC), Alan Morgan (Louisiana State), Kevin O'Connell (Greensboro College), Bryant Odom (Georgia), Rob Oppenheim (Rollins College), Stacy Pramannsudh (Tulsa), Summer Sirmons (Georgia), Natalie Tucker (Indiana), and Nick Watney (Fresno State). The squad is coached by Rick LaRose, Director of Golf at the University of Arizona, and Greg Allen, head women's coach at Arizona.
Since its beginnings in 1975, the U.S. leads the competition in this Walker Cup-style event, 18-6. Former U.S. players include Curtis Strange, Brad Faxon, Juli Inkster, Davis Love III, Steve Stricker, Bob Tway and Scott Verplank.