Nov. 16, 2001
On the Tee: Junior Ricky Barnes and sophomore Chris Nallen are scheduled to compete in the Savane College All-America Golf Classic in El Paso, the lone event remaining on the fall portion of the schedule ... The Classic is an invitation-only event for individuals featuring 25 of the nation's elite college golfers ... Every golfer in the field earned All-America honors during the 2000-01 campaign ... UA's Barnes is the reigning champion of this event after last season's record-setting performance ... Arizona's next team competition is the PING-Arizona Intercollegiate in Tucson on Feb. 4-5.
The Rankings: The Wildcats opened the year as the nation's second-ranked team, according to Golf World magazine's College Coaches' Poll and the Golf Coaches Association of America Coaches Poll. 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. It marks the 15th time in the last 16 seasons that UA has received a top-10 national ranking, including nine times at No. 2 or better. Individually, three UA players are ranked in the top 150 nationally in the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index.
A Look at the Savane College All-America Golf Classic: The Sun Bowl Association hosts the 27th annual Savane College All-America Golf Classic, Nov. 19-20, in El Paso, Texas. All 25 individuals in the field earned All-America accolades last season. Thirty-six holes are scheduled for Monday and 18 on Tuesday with a 7:30 a.m. CST shotgun start both days. The tournament will be held at the El Paso Country Club, a par 71, 6,781-yard facility. In addition to Wildcats Barnes and Nallen, the following individuals are scheduled to compete: Bill Haas (Wake Forest), Jason Hartwick (Texas), Franklin Hatchett (SMU), Brad Heaven (Toledo), David Inglis (Tulsa), Lars Johansson (San Diego State), John Klauk (Texas), Brock Mackenzie (Washington), Troy Matteson (Georgia Tech), Graeme McDowell (UAB), Troy McKinley (Pacific), Kris Mikkelsen (Georgia Tech), David Miller (Georgia), Simon Nash (Minnesota), Bryant Odom (Georgia), Chez Reavie (Arizona State), Wilhelm Schauman (Minnesota), Steve Sokol (Florida Southern), D.J. Trahan (Clemson), Nick Watney (Fresno State), Michael Webb (Augusta State), Lee Williamson (Purdue), and Oliver Wilson (Augusta State).
The Probable Arizona Lineup:
Golfer Yr. Avg. Top 10/20 Low Rd. Events Ricky Barnes Jr. 72.92 1/0 69 4 Chris Nallen So. 71.67 1/3 68 4
Head Coach Rick LaRose . . . is in 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.
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 publication's "50 College Golfers to Watch" list.
Last Time Out: The University of Arizona men's golf team shot a final-round 296 (+12) to finish in fourth place at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate. After posting its best 36-hole total of the year Monday, the Wildcats tallied a 12-over-par 296 to finish fourth in the event with an 862 (+10) total. Despite the fact that just one UA golfer was below par in Tuesday's final round, Arizona's 862 total was its lowest tournament score this season. Oklahoma State, which entered the final round tied for second place with the Wildcats, won the 12-team event with an 851 (-1) total. Junior Reid Hatley was Arizona's top finisher in the event, tying for seventh place in the 60-man field. Hatley shot a one-under-par 70 in the final round to finish the event with a 213 (E) total. It was Hatley's first top-10 finish this season and the fifth of his career. Clemson's D.J. Trahan and Oklahoma State's Hunter Mahan shared medalist honors at 205 (-8). Chris Nallen continued his run of solid performances, as the sophomore finished tied for 13th place at 215 (+2). Nallen, who has finished in the top 20 in all four fall events, tallied a final-round 75. Senior Tim Weiss, playing with the UA varsity for the first time since the 1999 NCAA Championships, finished tied for 21st place with a 217 (+4) total. Weiss' 217 total equaled the third-lowest tournament total of his career.
Last Appearance at the Savane College All-America Classic: Ricky Barnes shot a final-round 66 to win the Savane College All-America Golf Classic by six strokes. His three-round total of 196 (-17) broke the tournament scoring record by five strokes and set a new school record. Barnes earned his first tournament victory of the year by posting a five-under-par 66, the lowest round of the day. It marked Barnes' third straight round in the 60s and clinched the win by six strokes. It was his third career win. Barnes' 196 broke the previous scoring record set by Jay Don Blake (Utah State, 1990) and Jeremy Anderson (UNLV, 1998). Teammate Reid Hatley also competed in the event and tied for seventh place. Hatley used a season-low 68 in the second round to finish at 211 (-2).
Select Company: With last year's win, Ricky Barnes joined a select group of previous Classic winners: Jerry Pate (1974), Davis Love III (1984), David Duval (1991), Notah Begay (1994) and Tiger Woods (1995). None of those players came close to Barnes' 196 (-17) scoring total.
Six Pack: The University of Arizona is one of just six programs nationally to send multiple players to the invitation-only Savane College All-America Golf Classic. Joining Arizona with two players in the field is Texas, Georgia Tech, Georgia, Minnesota and Augusta State. It also marks the second consecutive season in which two UA players have participated in the event.
Finding the Positives: Arizona has started slowly this fall, posting a 291.00 stroke average as a team through four fall events. One could find signs of better play in last month's Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate, as the team carded an 862, its lowest aggregate total of the fall and had two players finish in the top 20. UA posted six rounds at par or better in the tournament.
Picking Up the Pace: Sophomore Chris Nallen is quietly becoming one of the top players in the country. Nallen finished the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate tied for 13th place with a 215 (+2) total. Included in the effort was a first-round 68, his 10th career round in the 60s. Through 17 collegiate events, Nallen has a 71.76 career stroke average and nine top-20 finishes (four top-10).
Red Numbers: After a slow start in the first two events of the season, junior Reid Hatley has turned it up lately with two strong finishes to close the fall. Hatley finished tied for 19th place at the Taylor Made Red River Classic with a three-under-par 213 that included a career-low 67. He also posted his first top-10 finish of the season at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate (T7th) with an even par 213. His 71.0 stroke average over his last six rounds is 4.67 strokes lower than his average through the year's first two events.
Warming Up: Similar to last year, Ricky Barnes has struggled a bit with his putter. Last year Barnes had a 73.63 stroke average through four fall events heading into the Savane All-America Golf Classic. While the numbers are a bit better this season (72.92), Barnes has tallied just one round in the 60s and four rounds at par or better.
In the 60s: One Wildcat golfer managed to post a score in the 60s at the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate, bringing the team total of sub-70 rounds to five. Chris Nallen (68) carded his total in the first round in Birmingham. Freshman Kipp Riehle was the first to break 70, as he carded a second-round 69 at the William H. Tucker Intercollegiate. Junior Ricky Barnes followed up with a final round 69 in that same season-opening event. Nallen leads the team with two sub-70 rounds.
2000-01 In Review: Arizona closed another highly-successful season with its 15th consecutive berth in the NCAA Championships. The Cats finished third for the second straight season. No team west of the Central Time Zone has finished ahead of UA at the NCAA Championships in the last two years. Arizona earned two team championships in 2000-01, including the CGF Match Play National Championship in November, and three individual wins. Ricky Barnes and Chris Nallen were named to the 2000-01 GCAA NCAA Division I Ping All-America team on June 3.