April 3, 2002
On the Tee: Arizona opens the stretch drive of the 2002 season by hosting the U.S. Collegiate Championships ... An elite field is expected, as five of the 10 teams scheduled to participate are currently ranked in the Golf World Top 25 ... Arizona has played three tournaments in the last 26 days entering the weekend and have another scheduled for next week ... The Cats have been solid through the top three spots in the lineup, but are still looking for a consistent No. 4-5.
The Rankings: After opening the season as the nation's second-ranked team, Arizona closed the fall portion of the schedule ranked No. 11 by Golf World magazine and currently hold down a No. 13 ranking by Golf World, 16th in the Precept/GCAA Coaches Poll and No. 23 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, three UA players are ranked in the top 105 nationally in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index.
A Look at the U.S. Collegiate Championships: Arizona will serve as the host for the 2002 U.S. Collegiate Championships to be held April 5-7 at Tucson National Golf Course. This 10-team tournament will be contested at Tucson National Golf Course on the Orange and Gold nines, a par 72, 7,138-yard layout. The tournament was originally scheduled to be held in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, but was moved to Tucson after suffering some logistical problems. Including host Arizona (13), the following teams are scheduled to compete (Golf World ranking): Arizona State, Georgia Tech (1), Houston, Kent State, UNLV, Northwestern, Oklahoma State (4), Texas (9) and Texas Christian (7). From those teams, six players recently named semifinalists for the Golf Coaches Association of America's Ben Hogan Award, which is given to the outstanding male college golfer, will be competing. The 54-hole event features 18 holes each day beginning Friday. Threesomes will start from the first tee only and begin at 7:30 a.m. MST on Friday and Saturday. Sunday's action begins on No. 1 at 7 a.m. PDT.
The Probable Arizona Lineup: Golfer Yr. Avg. Top 10/20 Low Rd. Events Ricky Barnes Jr. 72.74 2/1 67 9 Chris Nallen So. 71.41 4/4 65 9 Reid Hatley Jr. 72.75 2/3 67 8 Kipp Riehle Fr. 74.46 1/1 68 8 Nathan Lashley Fr. 75.77 0/0 70 8
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.
Last Time Out: The Wildcats shot a final-round 289 (+1) to finish in eighth place at the Oregon Duck Invitational. UA's final-round tally enabled the squad to finish the three-round event with a 874 (+10) total in the 16-team event. Tournament-host Oregon won the invitational with an 849 (-15) total, one stroke ahead of runner-up Washington State. Individually, Arizona was led by sophomore Chris Nallen, who finished in a tie for fifth place with a 211 (-5) total. Bolstered by back-to-back rounds in the 60s, Nallen collected his fourth top-five finish of the year. He has been Arizona's top finisher four times in 2001-02. Washington State's Jon Reehoorn earned individual medalist honors with a three-round total of 206 (-10). UA junior Reid Haltey also posted a top-20 finish, as the native of Spokane, Wash., carded an even-par 216 for the tournament to finish in a tie for 16th place. It was his fifth top-20 finish of the year. Teammate Nathan Lashley, competing as an individual, posted his collegiate-low total in relation to par to tie for 25th place at 219 (+3).
Last Year at the U.S. Collegiate Championships: In each of the last two rounds, Arizona posted three scores at par to help the team to a fifth-place finish. The Cats entered the final round in a tie for seventh, but carded a team total of 289 (+1) to finish with a score of 875 (+11). Two Wildcats finished in the top 20 led by Cody Beyer. He posted a three-round total of 217 (+1) to finish in a tie for 13th place. Teammate Ricky Barnes tallied a final-round 72 en route to a 218 total (+2) and tie for 16th place.
Arizona Individuals Team Finish T13. Cody Beyer 72-73-72=217 (+1) 1. Georgia 835 T16. Ricky Barnes 74-72-72=218 (+2) 2. Georgia Tech 868 T22. Reid Hatley 75-72-73=220 (+4) 3. Arizona State 874 T22. Chris Nallen 78-70-72=220 (+4) Clemson 874 58. Ben Clark 79-77-81=237 (+21) 5. ARIZONA 875 TCU 875
Hogan Award: Sophomore Chris Nallen was Tuesday 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. In addition to Nallen, five other semifinalists could participate in the U.S. Collegiate Championships.
Righting the Ship: After opening the spring with a tie for fourth place at the PING-Arizona Intercollegiate with an 853 total (a season low), the Cats have slipped a bit in the three events since, averaging 292.11 strokes per round. Things may be turning around for UA, as the squad carded a second-round 287 (-1) in its last outing which marked its first sub-par team total in eight rounds. Incidentally, Arizona's spring stroke average heading into last year's U.S. Collegiate Championships was 286.33. This season it is 290.17.
Tearing it Up: It took 18 holes to make an adjustment at last week's Oregon Duck Invitational, but one he did, Chris Nallen posted some real low numbers. Nallen shot a first-round 77 (equaling his worst round of the year) and rebounded by posting a 65 and 69 to close the tournament in a tie for fifth place at five-under-par 211. The second-round 65 set a new career low for Nallen, who has finished in the top 20 or better in eight of nine starts this season.
A Good Problem to Have: Ricky Barnes enters play this weekend having broken par just once in his last nine rounds. Still he ranks second on the squad with a 72.74 stroke average and is tied for second with two top-10 finishes. Barnes is also ranked 80th nationally in the March 26 Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index.
Picking Up the Pace: Junior Reid Hatley has certainly picked up the pace lately by posting a 71.89 stroke average over his last three events (nine rounds). Included in that span are six rounds at par or better, which have helped Hatley to one top-10 and two top-20 finishes. His three-under 213 and a tie for seventh place at the John Burns Intercollegiate in February both equaled season bests for the Spokane, Wash., native.
Could Help Be on the Way?: Freshman Nathan Lashley took a big step towards making a dent in the lineup when he carded a 76-71-72=219 (+3) total at last week's Oregon Duck Invitational. The tournament total and finish (T25th) were both career bests for Lashley. In his last two appearances with the UA varsity, Lashley has a 72.83 stroke average. Through eight events this season, Lashley carries a 75.77 stroke average.
In the 60s: Led by Chris Nallen's two last week, Arizona golfers have now collected 15 rounds in the 60s this season. Individually, Nallen leads the way with six, Barnes has three, and freshman Kipp Riehle has two.
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 announced Wednesday that three student-athletes have signed National Letters-of-Intent to attend the school and play golf. 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 Wildcat golf program in the 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.