May 19, 2012
TUCSON, Ariz. - The University of Arizona men's golf team finished in a tie for ninth place at the 2012 NCAA Southwest Regional in Norman, Okla.
The Wildcats, seeded 11th in the field, shot a final-round 302 (+14) total to tie San Diego for ninth place in the 14-team field with a 902 (+38) total.
Washington carded a five-over-par 293 to win the regional with an 860 (-4) total, four strokes ahead of second-place Texas. Florida State and Illinois tied for third place at 871, while host-Oklahoma finished in fifth place at 874.
The top-five teams advance to the 2012 NCAA Men's Golf Championships, May 29-June 3, at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Washington's Chris Williams shot a final-round 68 to come from behind and claim individual medalist honors with a 209 (-7) total.
The day put a cap on the 39-year coaching career of Rick LaRose, including the last 34 seasons as Arizona's golf coach. He took over the men's golf head coaching duties in 1978-79, and quickly established Arizona golf as one of the finest college golf programs in the country, guiding the men's squad to the 1992 NCAA title. LaRose began double-duty as the head coach for both the Arizona men's and women's programs (1996-98, 2010) and led the women to the 1996 NCAA title. He is the only coach to win both a men's and women's national championship.
Additionally, LaRose's teams have won seven NCAA regional championships, four Pac-10 crowns and three Rolex Match Play titles. Since 1978, his golf teams have won 62 men's tournaments and 19 women's tourneys, producing seven national players of the year, 11 Pac-10 players of the year, 68 All-Americans, 109 all-Pac-10 Conference performers, two United States Amateur winners and five United States Walker Cup players.
Arizona was led Saturday by junior Juan Pablo Hernandez, who tallied a one-over 73 and finished in a tie for 35th place at 226 (+10). Hernandez's 73 was Arizona's low round of the day and moved him 15 spots up the leaderboard.
Sophomore Erik Oja was the Wildcats' top finisher, tying for 24th place at six-over 222. He has been Arizona's top finisher in five of UA's last six events. He finished two strokes ahead of teammate Tucker Wadkins, who tied for 31st place at eight-over 224.
The 54-hole 2012 NCAA Southwest Regional was contested at the Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club, a par-72, 7,387-yard layout.
Top-Five Teams 1. Washington, 286-281-293=860 (-4) 2. Texas, 279-293-292=864 (E) 3. Florida State, 279-292-300=871 (+7) Illinois, 284-291-296=871 (+7) 5. Oklahoma, 287-292-295=874 (+10)
Top-Five Individuals 1. Chris Williams, Washington; 73-68-68=209 (-7) 2. Thomas Pieters, Illinois; 68-69-73=210 (-6) 3. Daniel Berger, Florida State; 69-69-75=213 (-3) 4. Cheng-Tsung Pan, Washington; 69-71-74=214 (-2) 5. Michael Gellerman, Oklahoma; 77-67-71=215 (-1)
Arizona Finishers T24. Erik Oja, 70-77-75=222 (+6) T31. Tucker Wadkins, 70-78-76=224 (+8) T35. Juan Pablo Hernandez, 75-78-73=226 (+10) T56. Philip Bagdade, 74-79-78=231 (+15) T64. Trent Redfern, 78-78-81=237 (+21)