June 2, 2001
DURHAM, N.C. - The test of playing 27 holes in one day for the national championship proved to be too much for the University of Arizona men's golf team, as it posted its worst round of the tournament Saturday to finish third at the 2001 NCAA Men's Golf Championships.
The Wildcats, who held a six-stroke lead midway through yesterday's third round when play was suspended for bad weather, could not keep up with the hard-charging University of Florida and ended up with a third-place finish at the NCAA Championships for the second year in a row. Florida finished the event 24-strokes under par over the last two rounds and won the tournament with a 1,126 (-26) total. The Gators won by 18 strokes over runner-up Clemson at 1,144 (-8).
Arizona, which entered the final round tied for the lead with Florida at 851 (-13), carded a final-round 294 (+6) and fell to third place, one stroke behind runner-up Clemson. Florida's final-round total of 275 (-13) was the lowest team total of the tournament. Only one UA player posted a sub-par final round.
"I think Florida, they played great the first nine holes today and they carried that momentum over," said UA head coach Rick LaRose. "They just really played terrific. Maybe if we hadn't stopped (due to weather) and we kept going, maybe the momentum would have stayed with us."
Sophomore Ricky Barnes entered the final round tied for the overall lead with eventual winner Nick Gilliam of Florida, shot a 79 (+7) to finish in a tie for eighth place at 284 (-4). Teammate Chris Nallen, who carded a third-round 66 to get back into contention for the lead, shot a closing 77 (+5) to finish in a tie for 13th place at 286 (-2). Junior Cody Beyer was the only UA player to come in under par Saturday, as he tallied a final-round 70 (-1) to finish tied for 16th place at 287 (-1).
Sophomore Reid Hatley followed his third-round 71 (-1) with a 73 (+1) in the final round to finish in a tie for 39th place at 294 (+6). Freshman Andy Connell closed with his two best rounds at the championships to finish in 79th place at 307 (+19).
The 2001 NCAA Men's Golf Championships were contested at the Duke University Golf Course, a par 72, 7,045-yard facility.