Sept. 18, 2001
On the Tee: Arizona opens its 65th season of collegiate competition at the William H. Tucker Intercollegiate in Albuquerque, N.M., on Sept. 21-22 ... A staple on the UA schedule, the Cats have participated in 22 of the last 23 Tuckers (1998), dating back to 1978, and have won the tournament three times (1987, '90, '91) ... Youth will be served once again, as the Arizona lineup features two juniors, a sophomre and two freshmen.
The Rankings: The Wildcats open the year as the nation's second-ranked team, according to Golf World magazine's College Coaches' Poll. The team garnered one first-place vote and 424 points overall. 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. Arizona finished the 2000-01 campaign ranked sixth in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, 12th in the Golf World poll and 10th in the CGF/MasterCard poll.
A Look at The Tucker Intercollegiate Field: The University of New Mexico hosts the 47th annual William H. Tucker Intercollegiate, Sept. 21-22. The 54-hole event features 36 holes on Friday and 18 holes on Saturday with an 8 a.m. MDT shotgun start scheduled for both days. The event will be held at The Championship Course, a par 72, 7,248-yard facility. In addition to Arizona, the following teams are scheduled to compete: Air Force, Arizona State, BYU, Colorado, Colorado State, Hawaii, host New Mexico (varsity and JV), New Mexico State, Oregon State, Pepperdine, San Diego State, Southeast Louisiana, USC, Texas A&M, Texas-El Paso, UNLV, Utah, and Wyoming.
The Arizona Lineup (2000-01 Stats):
Golfer Yr. Avg. Top 10/20 Low Rd. Events
Ricky Barnes Jr. 71.05 7/1 63 14
Chris Nallen So. 71.81 3/2 66 13
Reid Hatley Jr. 72.43 3/2 68 14
Nathan Lashley Fr.
Kipp Riehle Fr.
Brian Woolf (Ind.) Sr. 74.50 0/1 70 4
Brandon Smith (Ind.) Sr. 74.25 1/2 68 8
Head Coach Rick LaRose . . . begins 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 Year at the Tucker: Arizona posted the lowest team total of the final round and earned a third-place finish in the opening event of the 2000-01 campaign. The sixth-ranked Wildcats fired a final-round 285 (-3) and finished third in the 23-team field. Three of Arizona's five golfers finished at par or better as the Cats shaved eight strokes off its second-round deficit. Sophomore Reid Hatley led the Wildcats with a third-place finish. He carded a four-under-par total of 140, including a closing 69 to finish in the top three places. Freshman Chris Nallen turned in a strong debut performance, recording a top-20 effort in his first collegiate appearance. Nallen shot 73-72-73=218 (+2) to finish tied for 18th place.
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 publications "50 College Golfers to Watch" list.
A Look at the 2001 Numbers: The Wildcats ended the 2000-01 campaign with a 294.45 stroke average in 37 stroke play rounds. That average dropped to 286.46 when making an adjustment for the Pac-10 Championships (five countable scores per round). UA posted sub-par totals in 10 of its last 17 rounds. With two team wins in 2000-01, it marked the second straight year in which Arizona picked up multiple team titles.
2001 NCAA Championships Review: 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 in the final round to finish third at the 2001 NCAA Men's Golf Championships. The Wildcats, who held a six-stroke lead midway through the 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.
All-Americans: Ricky Barnes and Chris Nallen were named to the 2000-01 GCAA NCAA Division I Ping All-America team on June 3. Barnes, a sophomore from Stockton, Calif., was a second team All-America pick by the GCAA. He led the Wildcats with a 71.05 stroke average and posted seven top-10 finishes in 13 stroke play events this season, including a tie for eighth place at the 2001 NCAA Men's Golf Championships. Barnes won two tournaments in 2000-01, the Savane College All-America Golf Classic in November and the 2001 Pacific-10 Conference Championship in April. The Pac-10 Co-Player of the Year posted a team-leading 24 rounds at par or better this season, including 13 rounds in the 60s. Barnes was the national Freshman of the Year and a second team All-America selection in 2000. Nallen, a freshman from Blairstown, N.J., earned third team All-America honors from the GCAA. He ranked second on the team with a 71.81 stroke average and had three top-10 finishes to his credit. Nallen picked up his first career win on April 22 at the U.S. Intercollegiate and closed the 2000-01 campaign with four consecutive top-15 finishes. He was the low-scoring freshman at the 2001 NCAA West Regional and finished at par or better in 17 of 26 rounds this spring, including eight rounds in the 60s. He finished in a tie for 13th place at the 2001 NCAA Men's Golf Championships.
Take Note: With two All-Americans in 2001, 24 Arizona golfers have earned a total of 40 All-America accolades since 1967. The Wildcats have had at least one All-American in each season since 1992. It also marks the third time in the last four seasons in which UA has had multiple All-America selections.