Sept. 14, 2001
TUCSON, Ariz. - The University of Arizona men's golf team will open the 2001-02 season as the nation's No. 2-ranked team, according to Golf World magazine's preseason coaches' poll.
The Wildcats earned 429 points and one first-place vote in balloting done by NCAA Division I men's golf coaches to rank second nationally. Only the University of Florida with 13 first-place vote and 439 points overall was ranked higher. Georgia Tech (371), Oklahoma State (357) and Texas (356) round out the top five.
Arizona returns the top seven players from last year's NCAA third-place finisher, including reigning Pac-10 individual champion Ricky Barnes, who Golf World tabbed as the top-ranked men's college player in the country.
Barnes, a junior from Stockton, Calif., finished the 2000-01 with a 71.05 stroke average and seven top-10 finishes. He won the Savane All-America Golf Classic and the 2001 Pacific-10 Conference individual championship with record-breaking performances. In his last five events of 2000-01, Barnes posted nine rounds in the 60s. Through his first two years of collegiate competition, Barnes has the lowest career scoring average (71.05) in Arizona history.
In its preseason ranking of the "50 College Players to Watch," Golf World also recognized UA sophomore Chris Nallen.
Nallen, a native of Blairstown, N.J., earned third team All-America honors in 2000-01 after a freshman campaign in which he posted a 71.81 stroke average and tallied three top-10 finishes. Nallen picked up his first career win on April 22 at the U.S. Intercollegiate and closed the 2000-01 season with four consecutive top-15 finishes. He was the leading freshman at the 2001 NCAA West Regional and finished at par or better in 17 of 26 rounds last spring, including eight rounds in the 60s. He finished in a tie for 13th place at the NCAA Men's Golf Championships.
Barnes, Nallen and the rest of the Arizona men's golf team open the 2001-02 campaign Sept. 21-22 at the William H. Tucker Intercollegiate in Albuquerque, N.M.
Golf World Men's College Coaches' Poll Rnk. Team (first place votes) Points 1. Florida (13) 439 2. ARIZONA (1) 424 3. Georgia Tech (1) 371 4. Oklahoma State (3) 357 5. Texas 356 6. Georgia 354 7. Wake Forest 335 8. Virginia Tech 306 9. Clemson 288 10. Arizona State 257 11. Oklahoma 231 12. UAB 225 13. UNLV 206 14. Augusta State 165 15. SMU 135 16. Minnesota 132 17. Houston 105 18. TCU 97 19. New Mexico 93 20. Pepperdine 82 USC 82 22. Oregon State 79 23. South Carolina 78 24. Tulsa 73 25. East Tennessee State 69