May 18, 2002
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.-Arizona qualified for its 16th straight trip to the NCAA Men's Golf Championships as the team finished tied for sixth place Saturday at the NCAA West Regional at the University of New Mexico's Championship Course. Ricky Barnes became the fourth golfer in Arizona history to win medalist honors at the NCAA Regional as he tied for first place with Justin Smith of Minnesota at 6-under-par for the tournament.
Barnes, a junior from Stockton, Calif., drained three birdies on the back nine to card a final-round of 1-over-par 73. Barnes and Smith, who shared the individual championship, completed the tournament four strokes ahead of their nearest competitor, Nick Watney of Fresno State (214, -2).
Fellow Pac-10 institution Washington and tournament host New Mexico led a pack of ten schools that qualified for the NCAA Championship tournament. The Huskies and Lobos completed the tournament in first place at 872 (+8). Nevada-Las Vegas took third place, while Minnesota and Pepperdine rounded out the top five in fourth and fifth. Arizona shared sixth place with Pacific and Texas at 14-over-par 878.
Sophomore Chris Nallen was Arizona's second-best finisher as he tied for 51st place at 7-over-par 223, the native of Blairstown, N.J., closed the tournament with a 3-over 75. Freshman Kipp Riehle posted his best round since April 13 as he shot 1-over 73 to complete the tournament at 223 (+7).
Andy Connell also shot a final-round 73 and tied for 68th place with a 54-hole total of 225 (+9). Reid Hatley completed the Arizona lineup and claimed a tie for 82nd place. Hatley, a junior from Spokane, Wash., closed the tournament at 11-over-par 227.
The 10th and final team to qualify was Texas Tech in a one-hole playoff with San Diego State. The Red Raiders' Kyle Willmann forced the playoff when he rammed home a dramatic 25-foot birdie on the 18th hole. Willman's putt hit the back of the hole, bounced up, hit the front lip and then dropped into the cup.
Southern California, ranked seventh nationally in the latest edition of the Golfweek/Sagarin performance index and the No. 1 seed entering the West Regional, failed to qualify for the NCAA Championships. The Trojans shot a final-round 298 to finish in 18th place at 31-over-par 895.
The NCAA Championships are next for the Wildcat men's golf team, the tournament will be played on the Scarlet Course in Columbus, Ohio, May 29-June 1. Ohio State is the host of this year's championship. Arizona has five top-five finishes in its history at the NCAA Championships, including a national title in 1992 and third-place showings in 2000 and 2001.
Place Team Scores T1. Washington 291-293-288-872 (+8) T1. New Mexico 293-295-284-872 (+8) 3. Nevada-Las Vegas 290-292-292-874 (+10) 4. Minnesota 290-298-287-875 (+11) 5. Pepperdine 292-297-288-877 (+13) T6. ARIZONA 292-293-293-878 (+14) T6. Pacific 294-295-289-878 (+14) T6. Texas 285-303-290-878 (+14)
Place Name, School Score T1. RICKY BARNES, Arizona 70-67-73-210 (-6) T1. Justin Smith, Minnesota 70-72-68-210 (-6) 3. Nick Watney, Fresno St. 74-69-71-214 (-2) T4. Scott Hailes, New Mexico 73-72-70-215 (-1) T4. Matt Hansen, Pacific 70-75-70-215 (-1) T4. Brock Mackenzie, Washington 72-76-67-215 (-1) T4. Ben Scribner, Pacific 74-69-72-215 (-1)
Place Arizona Golfer Score T1. Ricky Barnes 70-67-73-210 (-6) T51. Chris Nallen 74-74-75-223 (+7) T60. Kipp Riehle 75-76-73-224 (+8) T68. Andy Connell 76-76-73-225 (+9) T82. Reid Hatley 73-80-74-227 (+11)
Schools Qualifying for NCAA Championships:
New Mexico, Washington, Nevada-Las Vegas, Minnesota, Pepperdine, Arizona, Pacific, Texas, Fresno State and Texas Tech.
Individuals Qualifying for NCAA Championships:
John Merrick, UCLA; Mark Warman, San Diego State
Complete field results available at Golfstat.com.