Oct. 11, 2001
On the Tee: The Arizona men's golf team closes fall team competition at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate in Birmingham, Ala., Oct. 15-16 ... 2001 marks Arizona's 10th consecutive appearance in the JPNI, dating back to the fall of 1992 ... UA has four top-five finishes as a team in the event, including a runner-up effort in 1997, and two individual champions (David Berganio, 1992/Rory Sabbatini, 1997) ... The JPNI concludes a flurry of activity for the UA varsity, as the squad will have played four tournaments in a span of 29 days ... The only remaining fall competition is an individuals-only event, the Savane College All-America Golf Classic, Nov. 19-20 in El Paso, Texas.
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. Individually, three UA players are ranked in the top 100 nationally in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index.
A Look at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate: The University of Alabama hosts the 16th annual Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate, Oct. 15-16, in Birmingham, Ala. Eleven of the 12 teams in this year's field are ranked nationally. Thirty-six holes are scheduled for Monday and 18 on Tuesday. Start times are TBA. The tournament will be held at the Old Overton Club, a par 71, 6,958-yard facility. In addition to Arizona, the following teams are scheduled to compete: UAB, Auburn, Arizona State, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, UNLV, Oklahoma State, Texas, Wake Forest, and host Alabama.
The Probable Arizona Lineup: Golfer Yr. Avg. Top 10/20 Low Rd. Events Ricky Barnes Jr. 72.67 1/0 69 3 Chris Nallen So. 71.67 1/2 68 3 Reid Hatley Jr. 74.11 0/1 67 3 Kipp Riehle Fr. 74.56 1/0 69 3 Nathan Lashley Fr. 76.33 0/0 71 3
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 publication's "50 College Golfers to Watch" list.
Last Time Out: The University of Arizona men's golf team shot a final round 291 to finish in 11th place at the Taylor Made Red River Classic. Even with its top three finishers at par or better, the Wildcats were unable to make a move in the final 18 holes and finished in 11th place with an 866 (+2) total. The total is the Cats best 54-hole score of the season, but placed the squad in the middle of the pack, as 10 of the 15 teams came in at par or better. Texas tallied an 834 total (-30) to win the event by 10 strokes over USC (844). TCU, Oklahoma State and Ohio State rounded out the top five finishers. Chris Nallen earned his first top-10 finish of the year by placing sixth in the 84-man field. The sophomore carded a final-round 70 (-2) Tuesday to finish with a three-round total of 208 (-8). Teammate Reid Hatley also posted his best finish of the season by finishing tied for 19th place at 213 (-3), while Ricky Barnes finished the tournament with two sub-par rounds to tie for 35th place at 216 (E).
Last Appearance at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate: Chris Nallen posted the lowest total of his collegiate career to help the Wildcats to a ninth-place finish at the 2000 Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate. Nallen fired a final-round 71 to finish with a 54-hole total of 216 (+3) to tie for 24th place. He was the only UA golfer to post a score at par during the tournament. Nallen's effort helped the Cats move up two spots in the 12-team event. Arizona carded a three-round total of 876 (+24) to finish in a tie for ninth place with tournament-host Alabama.
Schedule Change: Due to the cancellation of the Golf World/Palmetto Dunes Invitational, originally scheduled for Nov. 9-11 in Hilton Head, S.C., the Wildcats have added a tournament to the schedule. UA will now compete in the Las Vegas Invitational, March 8-10. The schedule change leaves the Cats with four regular-season fall events and six in the spring.
Finding the Positives: Arizona has started slowly this fall, posting a 292.22 stroke average as a team through three events. One could find signs of better play in last week's Taylor Made Red River Classic, as the team carded an 866 (+2), its lowest total of the fall and had three players finish the 54-hole event at par or better
Picking Up the Pace: Sophomore Chris Nallen is quietly becoming one of the top players in the country. Nallen finished the Red River Classic in sixth place with a 208 (-8) total. It was his fourth career top-10 finish and a career-best tournament score in relation to par. Included in the effort was a first-round 68, his ninth career round in the 60s. Through 16 collegiate events, Nallen has a 71.78 career stroke average and eight top-20 finishes (four top-10).
Red Numbers: Junior Reid Hatley posted his best tournament of the year in Dallas, as he posted scores of 67-75-71=213 (-3) to finish in a tie for 19th place. It was Hatley's first top-20 finish of the year and his first sub-par tournament since last spring's Pacific-10 Conference Championships (282/-2). Also of note: Hatley's first-round 67 last week was a career-low round.
Getting Better: Junior Ricky Barnes lowered his season stroke average to 72.67 with an even-par effort (216) at last week (a season best). He finished the Red River Classic with two straight sub-par rounds, so consistent play may not be far behind. Inconsistent putting this fall has limited Barnes to just three rounds at par or better.
First-Year Jitters: It's been a bit of a struggle lately for Arizona's two freshman after each got off to good starts in the year's first event. Kipp Riehle and Nathan Lashley made solid debuts Sept. 21-22 at the William H. Tucker Intercollegiate, finishing tied for sixth and 37th place, respectively. Riehle, who opened with a 214 (-2) total, has a 76.17 stroke average in the two tournament since, while Lashley, who opened with a 223 (+7), has a 77.33 stroke average.
In the 60s: Two more Wildcat golfers managed to post a score in the 60s at the Taylor Made Red River Classic, bringing the team total of sub-70 rounds to four. Reid Hatley (67) and Chris Nallen (68) both tallied their totals in the first round in Dallas. 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 that same 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.