Pac-10 Men's Golf Championships Preview
April 17, 2006
EVENT . . . The 47th Pacific-10 Conference Men's Golf Championships will take place April 24-26 at the Big Horn Country Club (Par 71, 7,009 yards) in Palm Desert, Calif. USC will serve as the Tournament host for the 72-hole Championship. Admission is free.
TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE . . . A practice round will take place on Sunday, April 23 before the Tournament begins on Monday morning. The opening two rounds are Monday, the third round is on Tuesday, and the final round is scheduled for Wednesday. The starting time for each day of competition is 7:30 a.m.
Per a blind draw by Conference officials, the team pairings and order of play for the first round are as follows:
Group 1 (1st Tee - 7:30 a.m.): Arizona State, Oregon State
Group 2 (1st Tee - 8:18 a.m.): USC, Washington State
Group 3 (1st Tee - 9:06 a.m.): Arizona, Oregon
Group 4 (10th Tee - 7:50 a.m.): UCLA, California
Group 5 (10th Tee - 8:38 a.m.): Washington , Stanford
TOURNAMENT SCORING . . . The five individuals from each team with the low scores for any 18-hole round constitute the scoring members of the team for that given round. The team championship will be awarded to the squad with the lowest total combined score for all rounds.
RANKINGS . . . As of April 11th, the Golfweek/Sagarin Index shows that five Pac-10 teams are ranked in the Top-30 . . . UCLA is ranked No. 5, followed by Arizona State at No. 8, Arizona is ranked No. 24, USC at No. 28 and rounding out the Top-30 is Washington at No. 29 . . . As for the rest of the Conference, Stanford is No. 45, Washington State is No. 83, California is No. 94, Oregon is No. 115 and Oregon State is No. 119 . . . Individually, UCLA's Erik Flores is ranked No. 9, Alejandro Canizares of Arizona State is ranked No. 12, Stanford's Rob Grube is ranked No. 14, UCLA's Daniel Im is ranked No. 22, Niklas Lemke of Arizona State is ranked No. 33, Washington's Alex Prugh is ranked No. 35, Benjamin Alvarado of Arizona State is ranked No. 40, and USC's Taylor Wood is ranked No. 49.
MEDIA INFORMATION . . . Paul Goldberg is the media contact for the 2006 Pac-10 Men's Golf Championships. All inquiries should be directed to him at 213-740-8460.
TOURNAMENT RESULTS . . . At the conclusion of each round, results will be available via the internet. Point your browser to the Pac-10 web site at www.pac-10.org, USC's web site at www.usctrojans.com, or the Golfstat web site at www.golfstat.com and click on live scoring.
CHAMPIONSHIPS PREVIEW. . .
ARIZONA has finished in the Top-3 at the Pac-10 Championships in each of the last three years, placing third in 2005, first in 2004, and second in 2003 ... 2004 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Henry Liaw has won one tournament this year and placed in the top five in eight career tournaments ... UA won the ASU Thunderbird Invitational to cap off the 2006 regular season, marking the 67th tournament win in school history ... Arizona has won at least one team event in each of the last four seasons, and has claimed 10 titles in that span ... Brian Prouty posted the best finish of his career at the Thunderbird Invitational, finishing third and carding an eight-under tournament tally that was his career best.
ARIZONA STATE won a Pac-10 record six straight titles from 1995-2000 and has won 11 overall ... The Sun Devils have placed second in each of the last three years, losing a tiebreaker to Washington last year ... ASU's Alejandro Canizares, the 2003 NCAA Champion and 2005 Pac-10 Player of the Year, won the PING-Arizona Collegiate and placed in the top five in three tournaments ... Junior All-American Niklas Lemke led ASU in three different tournaments ... Freshman Benjamin Alvarado Holley has a 72.90 stroke average in seven events this year, which is the seventh-best freshman scoring average in Sun Devil history.
CALIFORNIA is led by junior Michael Wilson, who has had Cal's top finish in two tournaments on the season, winning the inaugural Corde Valle Collegiate on Nov. 1 ... George Grandranata holds the second-best stroke average on the team (73.7) to Wilson (73.5), and helped Cal win the 2005 Alister MacKenzie title, tying for 10th with a two-under 211 ... Cal has yet to win a Pac-10 team title, despite winning the 2004 NCAA team championship ... Their highest finish to date was a second-place performance in 1995.
OREGON's Joey Benedetti finished off his regular season strong for the Ducks, earning his third consecutive Top-25 showing by tying for 12th at the U.S. Intercollegiate ... The sophomore leads the team with a 73.0 stroke average ... Fellow sophomore Derek Sipe tied for 15th at 146 to garner his second top-15 finish in the Ducks' last three events ... Senior Gregg LaVoie ranks second on the team with a 74.0 stroke average, followed by Sipe at 74.3 and Landon Banks at 74.6 ... The Ducks placed fifth at last years' Pac-10 Championships, their highest finish since 2002.
OREGON STATE finished the season on a high note, tying for sixth at the U.S. Intercollegiate and placing third at the Oregon Duck Invitational ... The Beavers were led at the U.S. Intercollegiate by Alex Williams, who tied for 18th and Vincent Johnson, who tied for 23rd ... Mitch Gillis recorded a career-low 70 in the first round of the Oregon Duck Invitational, and the team shot a five-over 869, helping the Beavers clinch the all-sport Civil War Series between the two schools ... Johnson was the Pac-10 Golfer of the Month for September and the Golf Digest/Golf World's first National Player of the Week for fall 2005.
STANFORD enters the Pac-10 Championships after taking third-place honors at the U.S. Intercollegiate on April 15-16 ... Rob Grube took individual medalist honors with his two-round score of 135 ... Grube also took top honors at the Western Intercollegiate, notching a two-under 138 to lead Stanford to a second-place finish ... Zack Miller paced the Cardinal at the Ashworth Invitational, recording a two-under 211 to lead Stanford to third place ... Grube was one of four Pac-10 men's golfers named to the Ben Hogan Award Watch List, an award that recognizes the top amateur player in collegiate golf.
UCLA enters the Pac-10 Championships on a high note after winning the U.S. Intercollegiate on April 16, it's 10th tournament victory of the season ... Freshman Erik Flores tied for second place at 141, and junior Chris Heintz tied for sixth at 142 ... Flores is the highest ranking Pac-10 player nationally, sitting at No. 9 on the GolfWeek/Sagarin Index ... The Bruins have won 29 tournament titles, including a Conference championship and a pair of NCAA Regional crowns, under fourth-year head coach O.D. Vincent ... The Bruins have won more tournaments during the last three years than any team in the conference, and last won the Pac-10 crown in 2003.
USC enters the Pac-10 Championships on the heels of placing second at the U.S. Intercollegiate ... USC was led by senior Taylor Wood, who tied for second individually with a one-over 141 ... USC won back-to-back Conference titles in 2001 and 2002, breaking ASU's six-year lock on the Pac-10 championship ... The Trojans have been led by several different players this season, with Tyler Ley leading the Trojans to a seventh-place finish at the Morris Williams Invitational and the Ashworth Invitational, and junior Joshua Wooding leading USC to third at the Taylor Made Invitational.
WASHINGTON, the reigning Pac-10 team champions, will rely on 2005 Pac-10 Champion Erik Olson and 2005 NCAA Champion James Lepp in pursuit of their second consecutive title ... Junior Alex Prugh has led the Huskies in six events this season, most recently finishing sixth at the U.S. Intercollegiate ... Prugh and Olson tied for second at the National Invitational Tournament, just one stroke off medalist honors ... Washington has won four Pac-10 titles (1961, '63, '88, '05) ... Current UCLA coach O.D. Vincent won the title in 1988 for UW.
WASHINGTON STATE junior Chris Collins has recorded seven Top-25 finishes this season, a mark that moves him into a tie for fifth place on WSU's list of career Top-10 finishes ... He tied for fifth at the Border Olympics to lead the Cougars to an 11th place finish ... Senior Ryan Witz recorded his first career victory at the Duck Invitational, marking his fifth Top-10 effort of the season and sixth of his career ... WSU's best Pac-10 championship performance to date came in 2001, where they placed seventh.
LAST YEAR . . . The WASHINGTON Huskies won their fourth Pac-10 title but first since 1988 with the Championship tiebreaker. UW posted a better cumulative six-man team score in the final round to edge ARIZONA STATE. The Huskies came into the final round in fifth place, 17 strokes behind ARIZONA STATE, which was the leader after three rounds.
Washington sophomore Erik Olson came from four strokes behind heading into the final round to win the individual title by one stroke. The win marked his first collegiate victory. The Pac-10 had a strong showing in the NCAA Tournament in 2005, with three teams finishing in the Top-15. The Huskies led the Pac-10 posting a best-ever finish of third place, followed by USC six strokes behind in sixth place, its best finish since 1995. The Sun Devils tied for 11th with a total team score of 1170 after four rounds.
Arizona State's Alejandro Canizares was named Pac-10 Golfer of the Year, while Stanford's Rob Grube was named the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year. Washington head coach Matt Thurmond was named the 2005 Pac-10 Coach of the Year.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? . . . The NCAA West Regional Tournament will be held at Tucson National Golf Course in Tucson, Ariz., May 18-20, 2006 (University of Arizona, host). The NCAA Championships will be held at Crosswater Golf Club at Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Ore., May 31- June 3, 2006 (University of Portland, host).