Men's Golf Heads to Pac-10 Championships

April 24, 2001

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WHAT'S ON TAP: The 23rd-ranked Ducks head to the Pacific-10 Conference championships, which will be played Friday, April 27 through Sunday, April 29 at the 6,786-yard, par-71 Stanford Golf Course. Teams will play 36 holes Friday and 18 on Saturday and Sunday. The format is slightly different that the normal college format with teams playing six golfers and counting their top five scores, as opposed to the normal five-count-four arrangement.

THE FIELD: Four of the league's 10 schools are among the nation's top 25 and there are another four teams in the second 25. In order, here are the rankings: No. 4 Arizona State, No. 6 USC, No. 18 Arizona, No. 23 Oregon, No. 27 Washington, No. 36 California, No. 39 UCLA and No. 40 Stanford. Oregon State and Washington State are unranked.

RANKINGS: Oregon is ranked 23rd in the current (April 18) Mastercard Collegiate Golf rankings. It is the second straight week Oregon has made the top 25. The Ducks were ranked 21st in the April 11 poll, their first top-25 appearance of the season. Individually, sophomore John Ellis is 93rd for second straight week.

OREGON IN THE PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS: Oregon has finished fifth or higher four times in the eight years that Steve Nosler has been the Ducks' head coach. Last year, Oregon was fourth with a 1432 total and trailed Arizona State (1382), Oregon State (1421) and California (1428). Oregon has three Pac-10 championships to its credit: 1959, 1976 and 1977. The last two titles were for the Northern Division. Oregon also has four runner-up finishes, the most recent of which in 1997 earned Nosler Pac-10 coach of the year honors. Arizona State has won the last six Pac-10 titles and, led by Eugene's Jeff Quinney, is a favorite to repeat again this year. Arizona and USC are the other top contenders with Stanford and Oregon the dark horses. The Ducks have had six Pac-10 champions in their history, but none since Brent Murray shared the title in 1978. This will be the first Pac-10 competition for half of the Oregon contingent: junior Brandon Harnden, sophomore John Ellis and freshman Mike Sica. The other three Ducks in action this week saw action at last year's championships with sophomore Chris Carnahan tying for 12th (283), junior Aaron Byers tying for 30th (291) and senior Matt Genovese finishing 35th (292).

OREGON PROBABLE STARTERS
John Ellis So.-TR San Jose, Calif. (Gavilan CC)
Aaron Byers Jr.-1V Albany, Ore. (Linn-Benton CC)
Chris Carnahan So.-1V Albany, Ore. (West Albany HS)
Matt Genovese Sr.-1V Boulder, Colo. (Boulder HS)
Brandon Harnden Jr.-1V Portland, Ore. (Lincoln HS)
Mike Sica Fr.-RS San Francisco, Calif. (St. Ignatius HS)

NOSLER QUOTES: 'This should be a really great tournament. Top to bottom, the Pac-10 has become stronger and stronger. I would say ASU, Arizona and USC are the favorites, but it's really up for grabs. You have a number of teams that have exhibited an ability to play well with the best competition and a lot of teams have won tournaments this year.'

'We can hang in there with anybody, but we have had trouble keeping our focus in the final rounds. We had that problem last week and I'm not exactly certain why it happened. Maybe we put too much pressure on ourselves because it wasn't one or two guys having problems last week, it was a team epidemic. But in the first two rounds, we did show that we can play this course as good as anybody and if we can keep it up for four rounds, anything is possible.'

U.S. INTERCOLLEGIATE RECAP: The 23rd-ranked Oregon men's golf team shot a disappointing 305 in the final round and fell to seventh at the U.S. Intercollegiate, April 21-22 at the 6,786-yard, par-71 Stanford Golf Course. The Ducks entered the final round in second place, just five strokes behind Arizona after sub-par rounds of 283-279. No. 18 Arizona cruised to an easy 15-stroke victory with an 837 three-round total (280-277-280), followed by No. 4 Arizona State at 852, UCLA third at 858, No. 6 USC fourth at 859, Stanford fifth at 863 and Pacific sixth at 866, one stroke better than Oregon's 867. Sophomore John Ellis was Oregon's low finisher, shooting a 2-over 215 (71-68-76) to tie for 20th. Junior Aaron Byers, who was tied for second entering the final round, had a 79 Sunday to finish at 5-over 216 and tied for 23rd.

THUNDERBIRD INVITATIONAL RECAP: The Ducks could not keep pace with the rapidly dropping scores and tied for 19th April 13-14 at the Thunderbird Invitational, played on the 7,027-yard, par-72 Karsten Golf Course in Tempe, Ariz. The tie for 19th was Oregon's lowest finish of the season even though the Ducks were just 17 strokes over par at 881. Aaron Byers was Oregon's top finisher, shooting a 2-over 218 to tie for 60th.

WESTERN INTERCOLLEGIATE RECAP: Oregon complied a three-round total of 850 to place first in the 55th annual Western Intercollegiate, held April 2-3 at the 6,445-yard, par-70 Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz, Calif. The win marked Oregon's first tournament victory since hosting the Oregon Duck Invitational in 1999. The Ducks finished 17 strokes ahead of second-place Washington, their largest margin of victory since 1991's Robert Holmes Collegiate Invitational. Sophomores Chris Carnahan and John Ellis finished the tournament at even-par 210 and tied for third overall, while senior Matt Genovese tied for 10th, with a six-over 216. Freshman Mike Sica's 17th-place 218 included a career-best round of 69, while junior Aaron Byers tie for 35th at 222.

OREGON DUCK INVITATIONAL RECAP: Aaron Byers shot a career-low 66 in the opening round and hung around the leaderboard to post his best finish as a Duck -- tying for third at 2-under par 214 at the March 26-27 Oregon Duck Invitational, played at the 6,854-yard, par-72 Eugene Country Club. John Ellis was also in the top 20, tying for 16th at 220, while Matt Genovese tied for 23rd at 223. As a team, Oregon finshed third, nine strokes behind San Diego State and eight back of Washington. The Oregon 'B' squad got a couple of good rounds from its freshmen. In his first competition as a Duck, Mike Sica shot a 2-under 70 in his opening round, while Jimmy White closed with an even-par 72. White tied for 36th overall at 225, while the 'B' team took 13th of 17 teams.

CLEVELAND SOUTHWEST INVITATIONAL RECAP: Rain shortened the Los Angeles-area tournament to two rounds and the Ducks struggled to a 10th-place finish, shooting a 606, March 5-6 at the 6,815-yard, par-71 North Ranch Country Club. Arizona State won the tournament with a 581. It was Oregon's lowest finish of the year, but the Ducks were only six strokes out of the top five. Aaron Byers and Matt Genovese were Oregon's top finishers, tying for 40th at 10-over 152.

TAYLORMADE WAIOKOLOA RECAP: Four Ducks finished in the top 25 as Oregon had its best showing of the 2000-01 season, finishing fourth at the TaylorMade Waikoloa, played Feb. 15-17 at the par-72, 6,594-yard Kings & Beach Golf Course in Hawaii. John Ellis tied for 10th with a 77-76-71-224, while Chris Carnahan tied for 19th with a 76-76-75-227 and Brandon Harnden (76-79-73-228) and Matt Genovese (79-77-72-228) tied for 24th. The Ducks shot a 308-305-291 for a 904 total that was just 11 strokes behind Texas' 893. Oregon's score was better than five teams ranked in the top-20: No. 3 Georgia Tech (923), No. 5 USC (914), No. 8 Brigham Young (916), No. 16 San Diego State (940) and No. 18 Oklahoma (913).

PING-ARIZONA INTERCOLLEGIATE RECAP: Aaron Byers shot a final round 3-under 68 to tie for fifth at the Ping-Arizona Intercollegiate, played Jan. 29-30 at the 6,776-yard, par-71 Raven at Sabino Springs Golf Course. It was a career-best finish for Byers, a junior from Albany, who finished with a 3-under 210. As a team, the Ducks finished ninth at plus-22, but missed a top-six finish by just three strokes. Sophomore John Ellis shot a 1-over 214 to tie for 15th.

FALL FLASHBACK -- PALM DESERT RECAP: Oregon closed out the fall season with a ninth-place finish, Nov. 6-7 at the Prestige at Palm Desert in Palm Desert, Calif. Chris Carnahan and Aaron Byers were the top finishers for the Ducks, tying for 29th at 6-over par 222. As a team, Oregon was in a position to rally for a top-five finish after rounds of 292 and 288. But a final round 299 left UO in ninth at 879, 24 strokes back of first place Northwestern's 855.

PEPPERDINE INVITATIONAL RECAP: The Ducks salvaged a fifth-place finish thanks to a final round 72 from Brandon Harnden and a 73 from Chris Carnahan Oct. 9-10 at the Pepperdine Invitational. Harnden and Aaron Byers tied for 13th overall at plus-7, while Carnahan tied for 20th at 10-over. John Ellis tied for 25th at 11-over. The Ducks rallied with the third-lowest score of the final round (298) to climb three spots and run their string of regular season top-five finishes to nine straight tournaments.

HUSKY INVITATIONAL RECAP: Sophomore John Ellis, competing in his first tournament as a Duck, won the Husky Invitational by defeating Washington's Joey Ramos on the first playoff hole Sept. 25-26 at Trophy Lake Country Club in Port Orchard, Wash. Ellis shot a one-over 217 to help Oregon finish second at 1108, besting six other Pac-10 teams, including Washington (1115), UCLA (1122), Washington State (1127), California (1127), Oregon State (1133) and Stanford (1136). Pepperdine won the tournament with a 1103. Brandon Harnden had his best finish as a Duck, tying for fifth at 220. Chris Carnahan (222) and Matt Genovese (224) also finished in the top 20.

NORTHWEST CLASSIC RECAP: Sophomore Chris Carnahan won the first tournament of his college career by shooting a 7-under par 203 at the Northwest Classic Sept. 11-12 at Trysting Tree in Corvallis, Ore. Carnahan shared the lead after two rounds and then shot a 68 on the final day to win the tournament by a stroke. Senior Matt Genovese had his finest day as a Duck, tying for fifth at minus-4. The senior from Boulder, Colo., had just one top-30 finish in eight career tournaments prior to the Northwest Classic. Three other Duck golfers also finished in the top 25, including Aaron Byers at 11th (208), John Ellis at 19th (211) and Brandon Harnden at 24th (212). As a team, the Ducks finished fifth, 13 strokes behind Nevada.

NOSLER NOTES: Now in his ninth year as head coach of the Ducks is Oregon graduate (1959) Steve Nosler. Nosler has guided the Ducks to the NCAA West Regional five times (1993, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000) and consecutive NCAA Championship appearances (1998 and 1999). During the 1999-2000 season, Nosler guided Oregon to six top-five finishes (eight top-10), including a second-place finish at both the Husky Intercollegiate and the Oregon Invitational. The Ducks also claimed fourth at the Pacific-10 Championships. He guided the Ducks to three tournament titles in 1998-99 and 10 top-five finishes, including a third-place at the Pac-10's and a fifth at the NCAA West Regional. Highlighting the 1996-97 season was Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors in a vote by his peers.

HOMEGROWN TALENT: Dating back to Peter Jacobsen and continuing with Ben Crane, the success of Oregon's golf program has always been rooted in attracting the top prep players from Oregon's high school ranks. The 2000-01 season is no exception as seven state natives are on the roster, including top golfers Chris Carnahan and Aaron Byers of Albany, prep phenom Jimmy White and Tom Connor from Eugene and Rose City area natives Brandon Harnden (Portland), Chris Heniff (Beaverton) and Geoff Horton (Tualatin).

WHO'S BACK: Oregon returns five lettermen from 1999-2000, including the No. 2 golfer of a year ago, sophomore Chris Carnahan. Senior T.J. Duncan had the squad's fourth-best scoring average a year ago, while junior Aaron Byers was fifth, junior Brandon Harnden was sixth and senior Matt Genovese was seventh. The Ducks also return sophomores Tom Connor and Geoff Horton who saw limited action in 1999-2000. Byers, Carnahan and Duncan all played in the 2000 NCAA West Regional.

WHO'S GONE: The Ducks lost seniors Ryan Lavoie and Andrew Tredway to graduation. Lavoie, who led Oregon in scoring average, played in all 13 tournaments last season, and Tredway appeared in 11 and ranked third in scoring average. Sophomore Ford Montgomery also did not return to the squad. The walk-on played in just two tournaments last year. Freshman Brad Mombert left the team after the fall quarter. The redshirt freshman played in two tournaments.

TOP TWO OREGON PREP PLAYERS SIGN WITH DUCKS: Two of the top senior high school players in the state of Oregon signed National Letters of Intent to compete for the Ducks next year. Chris Dukeminier of Eugene's Sheldon High School and North Bend's Kyle Johnson signed with the Ducks during the November period. Johnson was the starting quarterback and an all-state basketball player for North Bend High School, but chose to play golf collegiately. He won the 2000 OGA State Junior Championship. Dukeminier was on Oregon's 2000 Hogan Cup team and won the 1999 district championship for Sheldon. The two should make Oregon an even more talented and deeper team next year as the Ducks will graduate just two seniors (Matt Genovese and T.J. Duncan) and lose only one golfer from their top six (Genovese).

WWW.GODUCKS.COM: Web surfers can find golf releases and results on the University of Oregon Athletic Department website (www.goducks.com). The Pac-10 Conference also maintains a web site featuring information on all of its member schools (www.pac-10.org).

-goducks.com-

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