March 8, 2010
TUCSON, Ariz. – The Arizona men’s golf team will head to Las Vegas, Nev. for the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters, March 12-14, with 18 holes of golf played each day, shotgun starts will get the action going at 8 a.m. PST each round.
Last Time Out: The Cats took home both the team title and individual medal in the Braveheart Classic, March 2. Arizona earned its first team title in two years with its 20 stroke victory over Long Beach State. The 20 stroke margin of victory was its largest in 18 years. Tarquin MacManus won his first tournament of the year, and second of his career with a two stroke victory. The Cats had three golfers in the top four and five in the top 16.
The Course: The tournament will be held at the Southern Highlands Golf Club, a par 72, 7,510 yard course.
The Field: The 15 team field will be the toughest Arizona has faced to date. All participants are in the top 50 of the latest Golfweek rankings, with Arizona the lowest ranked at 43rd. In addition to the Cats, the field (with its ranking) includes: Arizona State (13), Florida (6), Georgia (16), Georgia Tech (20), New Mexico (45), Oklahoma State (1), TCU (22), Tennessee (28), Texas (4), Texas A&M (7), Texas Tech (19), UCLA (12), UNLV (14), USC (15).
The Line Up: Arizona’s projected line up is as follows.
Events Rounds Avg. 10/20 Round < Par
Tarquin MacManus 8 24 71.21 2/2 66 15
Rich Saferian 7 21 71.67 2/1 66 11
Jonathan Khan 7 21 72.19 2/2 67 10
Brad Nicholson 4 11 72.55 0/1 69 4
Philip Bagdade 7 17 73.06 0/2 68 7
After going through the fall season with five different line ups in five events, Arizona has used this same line up through the first three events in the spring, producing much greater results. The details of such results will be discussed later in the release in a section titled “fall struggles.”
2009 Southern Highlands Championship: Arizona finished ninth in an equally difficult field last season. The Cats were led by Tyler Neal, who finished tied for 19th. The top-finishing returning player was Brad Nicholson who tied for 39th. UNLV won the team title by a stroke over eventual NCAA Championship top-seed Oklahoma State. Cameron Tringale of Georgia Tech took home the individual medal.
Fall Struggles: Statistically speaking, Arizona has gotten off to slow starts in each of the past three seasons. The team’s fall stroke average from a year ago was nearly 16 strokes higher than its spring numbers. The Wildcats also had a higher fall stroke average during the 2007-08 and 2006-07 seasons. Arizona averaged an eighth place finish in four fall events last year, compared to an average finish of just over fourth place during the spring portion of the schedule (nine events). Arizona finished the 2009 fall slate averaging a ninth place finish. However, as the past foretold, things are beginning to change for the better in the spring. Through three events, the team is a combined 44 under par. In four events in the fall, the Cats were 46 over par. I’ll do the math for you: that’s a 90 stroke turnaround thus far.
Sub 72: Currently, Arizona has two golfers with stroke averages less than 72. No Arizona golfer has finished the season with a sub-72 stroke average since Brian Prouty and Nathan Tyler did it in the 2006-07 season. MacManus has a stroke average of 71.21 and Saferian’s average is 71.67. In addition, Jonathan Khan sits at a stroke average of 72.19. Arizona has never had more than two golfers finish with stroke averages below 72.
Top Eight in the Top-20: Each one of Arizona’s eight top golfers (according to stroke average) has recorded a top-20 finish this season. Nicholson had not earned a top-20 finish in his career until last week, when the senior finished tied for 16th in the Braveheart Classic.
The Big 3: Juniors MacManus and Khan, and senior Saferian are the clear leaders for the Cats. The three have combined for 36 rounds played at or under par; to put that in perspective, the other 15 players on the roster have combined for 31 rounds at or under par. MacManus, Khan and Saferian have combined for 11 top-20 finishes while the other 15 players have a total of six. Either MacManus, Khan or Saferian has finished in the top two on Arizona’s scorecard in 18 of the last 19 tournaments, a figure that dates back to MacManus and Khan’s freshman season. The one tournament that that none of the three finished in the top two was the 2009 Southern Highlands Championship. In seven of Arizona’s last ten events, two of the three golfers have occupied both spots atop the team’s scorecard.
Spring Stroke Averages: Saferian, MacManus and Khan currently carry spring stroke averages that would rank second, third and ninth, respectively, on Arizona’s single-season scoring average list if they could’ve kept it up for an entire season.
Rich Saferian 70.22
Tarquin MacManus 70.56
Jonathan Khan 71.44