June 24, 2003
TUCSON, Ariz. - University of Arizona men's golfer Chris Nallen captured the 2003 Northeast Amateur championship Sunday, winning the event on the first hole of a sudden death playoff at Wannamoisett Country Club in Rumford, R.I.
Nallen, who just completed his junior season at Arizona, defeated Jason Hartwick of Sacramento, Calif., with a par on the first hole of the playoff after heavy rains canceled the final round. It marked just the second time in the Northeast Amateur's history that the event was shortened by weather.
The Blairstown, N.J., native carded rounds of 69, 66 and 68 to post a four-under 203 total, which set up his playoff heroics. Nallen's victory in one of amateur golf's major tournaments places his name alongside several golf notables like Ben Crenshaw (1973), Scott Hoch (1977), Hal Sutton (1980), David Duval (1992) and Notah Begay III (1995), who have won this event in its 42-year history.
"It's a great honor and a great accomplishment knowing I'll have my name on that trophy with all those other great names," Nallen told Golfweek magazine. "I played well and consistent all week and now I just have to try to build on this the rest of the summer."
The win continues an impressive run for Nallen, who earned GCAA PING All-America honors for the third straight season after averaging 71.74 strokes per round in 2002-03. UA's top finisher in seven events this season, Nallen posted nine top-10 finishes and led the team in appearances (15), rounds played (43), low tournament total, rounds at par or better (27) and rounds in the 60s (12). Thirty-eight of his 40 rounds played in team competition (95 percent) counted towards the team total.
A semifinalist for the Ben Hogan Award, Nallen was a first team all-Pac-10 selection for the second year in a row. His 11-under 205 total April 12 at the ASU Thunderbird/Savane Invitational tied for eighth-best on Arizona's all-time scoring list in relation to par.