Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Cats in Corvallis for 2012 Pac-12 Championships
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: April 25, 2012
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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April 25, 2012

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On the Tee: The Arizona men's golf team heads to the 2012 Pac-12 Championships, April 27-29, at the Trysting Tree Golf Club in Corvallis, Ore. ... Since joining the Pac-10 in 1978-79, Arizona has won the conference title three times (1987, 1991, 2004) and finished second seven times ... The Wildcats finished seventh the last time Oregon State hosted the Pac-10 Championships in 2002 with All-American Ricky Barnes finishing sixth individually with a one-under 287 total.

The Rankings: The Wildcats are ranked 54th in the current (April 15) Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index, and were receiving votes in the most recent (week of April 30) Golf World/Nike Coaches Poll. Individually, junior Juan Pablo Hernandez was the top-ranked Wildcat nationally, checking in at No. 128 on the Golfweek/Sagarin Performance Index. Sophomore Erik Oja was next at No. 200.

The Probable Arizona Lineup:

Golfer          	Yr.	Avg.	Top 10/20	Low Rd.	  Rounds
Juan Pablo Hernandez	Jr.	72.03	   4/3  	  66	    36
Erik Oja        	So.	72.61	   4/2  	  66	    36
Trent Redfern   	Jr.	74.03	   1/1  	  67	    30
Tucker Wadkins  	Fr.	74.30	   1/1  	  67	    33
Brenden Redfern 	Fr.	75.03	   1/1  	  64	    33
Philip Bagdade  	Sr.	74.85	   0/1  	  68	    21

A Look at the 2012 Pac-12 Championships: Held annually since 1960, the Pac-12 Men's Golf Championships will be held Friday-Sunday, April 27-29, at Trysting Tree Golf Course, a par 72, 7,030-yard layout in Corvallis, Ore. Seventy-two holes will be played over three days (36 Friday/18 Saturday and Sunday) with play scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. PDT Friday and Sunday, and 9 a.m. Saturday. Twelve teams are scheduled to compete: Arizona, Arizona State, California, Colorado, Oregon, host Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington and Washington State. Six of those teams are ranked in the top 12 of the current Golf World/Nike Coaches Poll. Each team will consist of six players with the low five scores counting in each round. UA finished in seventh place last year with a 1,450 (+50) total. Erik Oja tied for ninth place individually at 283 (+3). The Cats are scheduled to tee off from the 10th tee from 8-8:50 a.m. for Friday's first round and from 1-1:50 p.m. for the second round.

Head Coach Rick LaRose . . . is in his 34th season at the helm of the Arizona golf program, and in that span has established the Wildcats as one of the nation's elite programs. The only college coach to win both a men's (1992) and women's (1996) NCAA Championship, LaRose's teams have won a combined nine NCAA Regionals, six Pac-10 crowns and three Rolex Match Play titles. In NCAA Championship play, he also has six third-place finishes, two fifth-place and two sixth-place efforts to his credit. Since 1978, his men's teams have won 62 tournaments and produced 47 All-Americans. LaRose, who has coached two U.S. Amateur champions, was inducted into the Golf Coaches Association of America Hall of Fame on Jan. 22, 2003, and the Arizona Golf Hall of Fame on Nov. 23, 2009. He is assisted by Andy Barnes.

Last Time Out: Arizona finished the third round of the 10th Annual Wyoming Cowboy Classic presented by Cleveland Golf/Srixon in a three-way tie for sixth place with Kansas and Wichita State with a four-over 836 total. In the team race, Kansas State carded a 281 to claim first place at 826 (-14), two shots ahead of runner-up Colorado. Individually, Kansas State's Ben Juffer and Colorado State's Mike Wuertz finished at 12-under (198), with Juffer taking the victory by playoff. For Arizona, freshman Brenden Redfern, who competed as an individual, carded a career-low 64 (-6) in the third round to finish in seventh place (203/-7). The event marks Redfern's first career top-10 finish, and the first event where he has finished under par. Also in the top-20, freshman Tucker Wadkins recorded his best finish since the Arizona Intercollegiate (Jan. 30-31) with a final of 206 (-4) for a tie for eleventh place. Wadkins' first-round score of 67 marks a new career low. Junior Juan Pablo Hernandez finished in a tie for 17th with a final total of 208 (-2). Hernandez's under-par finish was his first since the Arizona Intercollegiate. Junior Trent Redfern improved five places to finish in a tie for 24th with a final of 209 (-1).

Last Year at the Pac-10 Championships: Arizona posted its lowest round of the event in the final round and finished in seventh place at the 2011 Pac-10 Conference Men's Golf Championships in Palo Alto, Calif. Arizona tallied a final-round 360 (+10) to finish the 72-hole event with a team total of 1,450 (+50). It was Arizona's best finish at the Pac-10 Championships since 2008. Oregon, trailing USC by nine shots after 54 holes, rallied to force a team playoff, as both teams finished with a tally of 1,415 (+15). The Trojans won the team title in a one-hole team playoff. UCLA (1,418) finished third, while host Stanford (1,420) placed fourth. Martin Trainer of USC defeated Alex Moore of Oregon State in a seven-hole playoff to earn individual medalist honors after each shared the 72-hole individual lead at five-under 275.
As was the case the entire event, the Wildcats were led by freshman Erik Oja, who carded a final-round 68 (-2), Arizona's low round of the tournament, to finish in a tie for ninth place at 283 (+3). It was Oja's first top-10 finish of the season, and the second time in 2011 that the native of Sandviken, Sweden, has been UA's top finisher. Senior Tarquin MacManus posted four-over 74 Sunday and finished in a tie for 33rd place with a 291 (+11) total. Teammates Stefan Cox and Juan Pablo Hernandez tied for 39th place at 294 (+14) after the duo posted final-round scores of 74 and 73, respectively.

2011 Pac-10 Championships

Arizona Finishers		                  Team Finish
T9.  Erik Oja, 70-72-73-68=283 (+3)     	  1. +USC	1,415
T33. Tarquin MacManus, 72-74-71-74=291 (+11)	  2. Oregon	1,415
T39. Stefan Cox, 71-72-77-74=294 (+14)  	  3. UCLA	1,418
T39. Juan Pablo Hernandez, 75-76-70-73=294 (+14)  4. Stanford	1,420
T45. Jonathan Khan, 83-72-71-72=298 (+18)	  5. California	1,437
T71. Tye Beall, 74-77-79-73=303 (+23)   	  7. ARIZONA	1,450
+ won one-hole playoff

Tournament History: The Wildcats enter play this week looking for its first-ever Pac-12 men's golf championship. As mentioned earlier, UA captured Pac-10 league crowns in 1987, 1991 and 2004. Similarly, Arizona individuals have been very successful in this event, claiming individual medalist honors eight times since joining the league in 1978-79. Here is the list of Wildcat medalists: Paul Nolen, 1984; Larry Silveira, 1987; Manny Zerman, 1991; Jason Gore, 1993 and 1994; Ricky Barnes, 2001; Henry Liaw, 2004; and Creighton Honeck, 2008.

Finishing On Top: Arizona is no stranger to the top of the leader board, especially as a team. The Wildcats claimed the Arizona Intercollegiate, Jan. 31, by a stroke with an 835 (-17) total. It was the 72nd win in program history and the first since February of last year. It marks the third straight season in which the Wildcats have won at least one team tournament.

Round-By-Round: The round-by-round statistics show that Arizona is a second-round club. Through its 12 stroke play events, the Wildcats' lowest scoring round on average is the second with an adjusted average of 288.24. The Cats average 290.28 strokes in round one and post a final round average of 295.20. Not surprisingly, Arizona's low round of any tournament was registered in the second round seven times (including one tie), while it's high round appeared in the third seven times.

Bookends: Twice during the 2011-12 campaign Arizona finished a tournament under par - a 17-under 835 to open the spring at the Arizona Intercollegiate and a four-under 836 to close the regular season at the Wyoming Cowboy Classic. All told, the Cats registered eight under-par rounds as a team in 12 stroke play events with the lowest single round in relation to par, 277 (-7), occurring twice on Jan. 30 as the Cats played 36 holes to open play at the Arizona Intercollegiate an event the squad eventually won by a shot.

A Marked Improvement: Arizona posted four top-six finishes - including a team win at the Arizona Intercollegiate on Jan. 31 - in eight spring events and along the way tallied a 74-53 head-to-head record. Perhaps most impressively is the fact that the team's countable stroke average has dropped more than a stroke in the spring (72.49) as compared to the fall (73.55). Individually, Juan Pablo Hernandez carries the team's lowest stroke average in spring competition at 71.88.

Stable at the Top: While Arizona brings a lineup to the 2012 Pac-12 Championships made up of three upperclassmen (1 senior/2 juniors) and three underclassmen (1 sophomore/2 freshmen), there are only two players - junior Juan Pablo Hernandez and sophomore Erik Oja - who have played every round with the Wildcat varsity. It's also not surprising that the duo ranks 1-2 when it comes to stroke average, top-10 and top-20 finishes and rounds at par or better. Additionally, Hernandez and Oja are the only two Cats who have a countable rounds percentage of better than 90 percent. Of the six players to compete in Corvallis, Here is a listing of how many varsity rounds played have counted towards the team total:

Player          	Counted	 Total	Pct.
Juan Pablo Hernandez	   34	   36	.944
Erik Oja        	   33	   36	.917
Tucker Wadkins   	   27	   33	.818
Trent Redfern   	   16	   21	.762
Philip Bagdade  	    9	   12	.750
Brenden Redfern 	   11	   18	.611

Championship Experience: Four of the six Wildcats in the Pac-12 Championships lineup have a total of 24 rounds of conference championship experience. Philip Bagdade competed in the 2009 and 2010 events, posting a five-under 279 in 2010 and finishing in 15th place to go with a 72.13 stroke average over those eight rounds played. Juan Pablo Hernandez competed in the 2010 and 2011 events, posing a 73.25 stroke average in those eight rounds played. Trent Redfern played in the 2010 event, tying for 54th place at 296 (+12), while Erik Oja competed in the 2011 event, where he tied fro ninth place at three-over 283.

Heating Up: Junior Erik Oja has been Arizona's hottest player of late, posting a 70.56 stroke average over his last three events (9 rounds) to go with a pair of top-20 finishes. Of Oja's last nine rounds played, five have been under par including four in the 60s.

It's Why They Are Here: The six UA golfers participating this weekend have accounted for 66 rounds at par or better, nine under-par tournament totals, 11 top-10 finishes and nine top-20 efforts. This lineup - Hernandez, Oja, T. Redfern, Wadkins, B. Redfern, Bagdade - has played together one time as a six-man unit: at the Fresno State Lexus Classic, where the Wildcats finished fifth in a 16-team field.

Low Scores Aplenty: In Arizona's last outing, the Wyoming Cowboy Classic, April 9-10, the team recorded its season-low aggregate round of 274 (-6) over the opening 18 holes. Additionally, freshman Brenden Redfern carded a final-round 64 (-6) to register the low individual round of the season and equaled the ninth low aggregate round in school history.

Up Next: Following the Pac-12 Championships, the Wildcats await its postseason fate, as the announcement for the NCAA Regionals takes place in early May. Greensboro, N.C.; Athens, Ga.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Bowling Green, Ky.; Norman, Okla.; and Palo Alto, Calif.; will serve as hosts.

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