Tucson, Ariz - The Arizona men’s golf team will host the 2014 National Invitational Tournament (N.I.T.) at the OMNI Tucson National – Catalina Course. The three day tournament will begin on Friday, March 14 with a field of 14 teams.
The OMNI Tucson – Catalina Course covers 7,094 yards with a par 72. Each day will consist of one round. Each round has a tee time start of 8 a.m. MST. Following the conclusion of the tournament, there will be an awards presentation.
“Anytime you have the chance to play at home, it’s a great advantage,” head coach Jim Anderson said. “Our preparation for the week has been on the course that we will be competing on. I know there won’t be any surprises for our team in the way of course setup or hole locations. Having the ability to rest and stay on a similar schedule that we’re on for most of the year should help us be fully prepared and ready to go.”
The Wildcats lineup will remain the same as it has this spring. With three top-five finishes so far, Arizona is hoping to continue their success with their starting five including Erik Oja, Alex McMahon, Kolton Lapa, Brenden Redfern and Benson Liu.
“A message we’ve had to this team since the beginning of the spring is that we feel like we have our backs up against the wall, and she have started off nicely this spring but by no means can we take our foot off the gas pedal because we have a long way to go for some of the goals that we’ve set as a team,” Anderson said. “We feel very lucky to be able to play and host at home with a great field and we need to take advantage of that opportunity.”
At last week’s Del Walker Intercollegiate in Long Beach, Calif., the Cats posted some of their best rounds all season including a career low round by Liu with a shot of 66. McMahon also shot a career low tournament with a 208.
“We talk to our team a lot about competition and welcoming the competition,” Anderson said. “We’ve had guys play better this semester and individually gained more confidence. I think the confidence, especially because this group is so close, has spilled over to other players. It’s really been a very healthy team environment.”
Arizona will play two individuals in the tournament. Both Christian Colegrove and Dylan Kornberg will represent the Wildcats.
In the field of 14, there are numerous notable competitors including five top-25 ranked teams. As well, 12 top-50 ranked individuals will make their way to Tucson. Included in the field is 2013 N.I.T. team champion No. 20 New Mexico. TCU’s Julien Brun was last year’s individual winner and is currently ranked No. 8 in the nation.
“We have assembled a great field like we always do,” Anderson said. “Anytime you get the best teams in the country there comes the very best individuals. We’re happy to host. They love coming to Tucson and playing the OMNI golf course. It’s going to be a true test for our team if we want to defend our home turf.”
With as many top-ranked teams and individuals participating in the N.I.T., the competition will be high. No. 2 Oklahoma State and No. 3 California will be among those partaking. Other schools participating include No. 9 Texas A&M, No. 24 UNLV, Marquette, New Mexico State, San Diego, San Diego State, SMU, TCU, UTEP and Wyoming.
“I hope the people of Tucson want to come out and support our team and watch some of the future stars of the game.”
Live stats will be available at golfstatresults.com. All results will be posted at the conclusion of each round. For updates and continued coverage, follow on Twitter @UAWildcatsGolf and on Facebook.com/ArizonaWildcatsGolf.